Issue 1

April 14, 2000

Greater Glasgow NHS Board
IN Partnership with
the NHS Trusts in GLASGOW

Modernising Glasgow’s Acute Hospital Services

Let the Consultation Begin…..

Planning hospital services to meet the needs of the future is not an easy task. Medicine, surgery and their technologies are now changing fast. Assumptions need to be made on the likely state of play five years from now and beyond.

In Greater Glasgow we are faced with trying to provide modern medicine and surgery in buildings which are often out-dated and dilapidated. Everyone involved in providing and using these health services agree that this is not the way we want to continue. But to consider upgrading, refurbishing and building new hospital facilities on the scale we have in Greater Glasgow is a mammoth task .

It’s a task that we in the health service do not want to tackle alone. That is why this acute hospital services review is being developed with a key emphasis on genuine public involvement in assessing the options and coming to workable conclusions on the best way forward.

Attracting and maintaining high quality staff to manage and run those services is also crucial to the success of the review.

We recognise that with a task as great and diverse as this it is impossible to please all the people all the time. But what we will achieve, through working in partnership with local people, is a package of hospital services which will be much better placed to deliver fast, effective and efficient services.

Our aim…..

…... is to offer the safest and most up-to-date treatment quickly, using specialist skills in settings which are modern, friendly and convenient. We want to achieve this within the next ten years. Many people have seen the modern facilities available elsewhere and, quite rightly, expect such first class services in their own city. Too often patients suffer because of delays, postponements and trekking around hospital corridors, going to scattered services in old or shabby buildings, we want to consign this experience to the past.

What Hospitals are involved?

Southern General

Victoria Infirmary

Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Stobhill Hospital

Royal Hospital for Sick

Children (Yorkhill)

Queen Mother’s Maternity Hospital

Gartnavel General Hospital

Western Infirmary

What’s Been Done So Far…...

February 15 – Paper to GGNHSB outlining the process of consultation on the review

March 21 – Health Board approved the consultation paper, summary leaflet and 21 issues specific l leaflets for formal consultation beginning on April 3

March 21-31 – Printing and proof reading for over half a million leaflets

Late March/ – MSPs, Councillors, Glasgow Alliance, Social Work, Housing Partners and many others Early April invited to the various presentations launching the proposals

April 3 – Telephone information line 0800 85 85 85 goes live. 100 calls received in the first week.

April 3-12 – 403, 000 summary leaflets delivered throughout Greater Glasgow households

April 10 – 2,500 consultees receive a set of the full consultation package

from April 11 – first of 28 public meetings arranged across Glasgow to inform and discuss the proposals.  Click here for a list of the scheduled meetings.

Four Main Issues Raised So Far……….

1. Yorkhill

Concern has arisen that Yorkhill’ s unique identity and world class status could be undermined. It’s not surprising that people’s reactions dwell more on threats than opportunities. We care as much as anybody else about Yorkhill’s excellence in its regional and national specialist services. We played an influential part in the recent decisions about keeping children’s heart surgery in Glasgow.

We think that the Yorkhill proposal creates three opportunities:

to improve services for children where they are currently not as child-centred as we would like them to be – neurosurgery, ENT and accident services for children.

better links with adult services – particularly for Yorkhill Trust’s maternity services, where being on the same site as intensive care, general medicine and gynaecology will provide a safer service for mums. It will also enable us to offer a much better service for adolescents, who at the moment end up as uncomfortable residents in children’s wards or on adult wards.

to give Yorkhill’s services completely up-to-date facilities. By the end of this decade most of Yorkhill’s services will be in buildings coming on 50 years old. (We don’t think there’s enough space on the Yorkhill site to rebuild there. Even if it were possible, staying put would fail on the other two aims.)

If Yorkhill’s services did re-locate to the Southside:

they would remain as distinct, child-centred and complete as they are now (but stronger in neurosurgery, ENT and accidents) – that’s a promise.

equipment bought for children by charitable donations would still be dedicated to children – that’s a promise.

Ronald McDonald House would be re-provided on the new site – that’s a promise.

maternity services in Glasgow would benefit too, by being stronger based and with a wider range of links to Yorkhill’s specialist services for babies – that’s a fact.

If we couldn’t make these promises, we wouldn’t even be suggesting this proposal in the first place.

One MSP expressed concern about the impact on the local community - jobs, local shops and a belief that the proposal is about land values. On jobs, remember that clinical services will be the same as they are now, so the same jobs for nurses, physiotherapists, speech therapists and all the other clinical staff. And the new facilities at the Southern General would need cleaners, porters and ward clerks.

Govan underground station is only 2 stops away from Kelvinhall.

Local shops may experience some change, but Glasgow’s West End shops’ loss would be Govan local shops’ gain.

As for the value of the Yorkhill land, the fact of the matter is that sales proceeds would go towards the £52 million cost of replacement children’s hospital. A new hospital on cheaper land we already own made affordable by selling a 40 to 50 year old hospital on expensive land benefits children and taxpayers alike – any NHS management which did not consider such a possibility would be failing in its duty to the Parliament.

2. South Glasgow

As expected, there’s a lot of discussion but there seems, at this early stage, to be more acceptance that the Southside does need a single site hospital for its in-patient and Accident services. The question is where it should be. There have also been voices saying that in addition there should be two “community hospitals” (presumably one at the Victoria and one at the Southern General if the new hospital were elsewhere). It is not clear what is meant by a “community hospital”. GGNHSB’s proposal that at the Victoria there should be an Ambulatory Care Centre doing 85% or more of what the current Victoria provides for patients plus 120 rehabilitation beds may be pretty close to what people describe as a “community hospital”.

The big issue around whether the single site in-patient centre should be at Southern General or somewhere else (eg Cowglen) is, of course, at the very heart of the consultation exercise. The judgement about what to do needs to take account of ease of access, comparative suitability of families and cost. GGNHSB has been quite open in saying that for it, cost is critical. Redevelopment at the Southern General will involve GGNHSB paying £11 million per year more for acute hospital services in South Glasgow. The “Cowglen option” would cost an extra £18 million per year – a difference of £7 million per year. That’s an awful lot of money just for bricks and mortar being in place A rather than place B – it’s enough to pay for at least 325 extra nurses or to provide or improve a whole range of other currently over-stretched or inadequate services. One MSP asked us what it would take for GGNHSB to change its mind – we think the question might reasonably be asked the other way, “What does the Cowglen option have that justifies its enormous (other missed) opportunities cost?”

3. Access

People are concerned about access – from South-East Glasgow to the Southern General; from the Clydebank area to the Southern General are two examples. GGNHSB is due to meet Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive on 13th April and will report on the discussions in our next Newsletter.

4. Stobhill

Our next Newsletter will reflect more fully on some of the issues that are arising in debate so far. But the April announcement of GGNHSB support for the new Ambulatory Care Centre at Stobhill has been well received and will assure, way into the future, that around 90% of present contacts with Stobhill will be at Stobhill, including the well-regarded Casualty service). It’s also worth drawing attention to the fact that what the Health Board is saying about general medicine and general surgery at Stobhill is to pose questions for serious and thoughtful debate – it isn’t making a particular proposition.

Send your comments on the consultation:-

in writing to:
John Hamilton, Head of Corporate Services
Greater Glasgow NHS Board,
Dalian House
350 St Vincent Street
Glasgow, G3 8YZ

by E-mail to:

Summary and Topic Specific Leaflets

Erratum – please note the following amendments in the printed leaflets:-

Summary Leaflet – The Future Of Glasgow’s Hospital Services

pages 13 & 15 – Please note that the correct title of leaflet 16. Is Detailed Analysis Of The Options For South Glasgow ( and not North as shown)

Leaflet 19 – The GRI/Stobhill Partnership

page 6, column 2, line 7 – Should read: Stobhill has 401 acute beds (not 297 as shown)

Page 7, table, line 1 – Should read: General Medicine Number of beds 222 (not 79 as shown)


Q – “Will GPs and patients be able to exercise choice about where to go? For example could people in Castlemilk go to Hairmyres of they prefer? Or people in Rutherglen or Gorbals to the GRI instead of the Victoria or Southern?

A – Yes

Q – “Isn’t Ambulatory Care an untested idea?”

A – No. We do lots of ambulatory care already. It’s out-patients, day case surgery, diagnostic tests, out-patient rehabilitation and minor injuries – but it would be done in a building specially designed to be more patient friendly and efficient.

Q – “Will GGNHSB have a tough time getting its proposals accepted?”

A – We think there is plenty in the proposals that most people will support – new Ambulatory Care Centre at the Victoria and Stobhill, unified medicine and surgery at Gartnavel are three examples. And we hope that over the next few months people will get a fuller understanding of some of the other issues and recognise that some genuine choices are open to responsible and reasoned debate.

And Finally…….

………...We are encouraged by the interest that has already been raised on our proposals to modernise Glasgow’s hospital services.

The discussion and debate has begun, through many channels including the programme of public meetings set out on the back page. We would encourage people to come along and hear the proposals and pose any questions directly to the team of doctors and staff at the various venues.

There has also been encouraging interest from the Members of the Scottish Parliament. To date the following MSPs have attending briefings/meetings on the proposals:- Des McNulty, Janis Hughes, Cathy Craigie, Fiona McLeod, Margaret Curran, Mike Watson, Johan Lamont, Dorothy Grace-Elder, Paul Martin, Sandra White, Robert Brown, John Young, Nicola Sturgeon, Margaret Jamieson, Bill Aitken, Ken McIntosh, Kenny Gibson, Elaine Smith, Sam Galbraith, and Ross Finney.

This dialogue is key to the success of this project. We need, over the coming months, to listen, hear and consider different viewpoints and analysis – before we begin the task of formulating conclusions on the best way to structure the provision of hospital services in Glasgow.

Once a set of conclusions is developed, we will be entering into a further phase of consultation before a conclusive plan is put to the full Health Board. This is planned for September but we are currently considering a request to give this phase a bit more time.

The Newsletter will be updated every fortnight throughout the consultation period. The next edition will be available from April 28, 2000.

If you have any issues you’d like us to cover in the Newsletter, please send them to Elaine McKean, Press Officer, GGNHSB, Dalian House, 350 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G3, 8YZ. Or alternatively you can fax on 0141 201 4426 or e-mail

Public Involvement – We Need to Hear Your Views


Your chance to hear the Board’s proposals and debate and influence the issues which concern you

Click here for Public Meetings schedule.

The format of the public meetings will be that doctors and managers will present the Health Board’s proposals and then there will be an opportunity to debate and influence the issues that concern you.

Additional meetings will be put in place as required. For up-to-date information of meetings taking place contact our information line on 0800 85 85 85 or visit our website at

For extra copies of the newsletter, contact Elaine McKean : 0141 201 4429

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