Jun 3 2009 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
I made the right choice in fighting to keep A&E
COUNCILLOR George Devine has never regretted going against his once-beloved Labour Party and backing the successful campaign to save Monklands Hospital A&E department.
He always knew it was the right decision to side with the people of Airdrie and Coatbridge and battle to keep THEIR hospital alive as a vital resource for the community.
Last week he found out personally just how important the hospital is when his father Owen was rushed to the A&E for life-saving surgery.
He told the Advertiser: “It does not happen very often in life where an important decision you have made shows itself in such a life altering way, and as a politician the chance is even slimmer.
“But last week I knew I had made the right choice in my decision to fight to keep Monklands A&E open.
“My father suffered severe stomach pains in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The quick thinking of Dr McGill of the Wellwynd Practice and his decision to admit him to Monklands A&E undoubtedly saved his life.
“In the A&E he was seen by a doctor within 15 minutes, X-rayed and on a ward within two hours.
“Even though the hospital was full to capacity and the A&E was bursting at the seams, this was dealt with quickly and efficiently.
“Staff worked through the night and removed a hernia from my father’s bowel. The surgeon then called me at 3am to tell me how successful the operation was.
“He was looked after in the ICU by some of the best medical staff in the world and moved to wards 5 and 6, which are also staffed by the most dedicated team of professionals I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
“I would like to thank all the staff involved in saving my father’s life, from Dr McGill’s initial diagnosis to the nurses, sisters, porters, ward staff and surgeons involved in the operation.”
Dad Owen (73) said: “ I would like to say thank you to the doctors and nurses who were fantastic. They have done a great job and they saved my life.
“I am proud of the stance George took. Jimmy Dempsey (former Labour MP), God rest him, fought hard to get this hospital built so when they tried to close the A&E I couldn’t believe it.
I am only here today because of the staff there.”
Reflecting on his decision to leave the party he had been a member of for almost 25 years, George added: “I was right to leave the party. The Labour Party were wrong and were proved wrong.
“This hospital is the most important hospital in Lanarkshire but it needs more investment. It is the best asset we have in this area.
“My father dedicated most of his adult life to the Labour Party but left the party before I did. Had I not fought the Labour Party and its decision to close Monklands A&E he would not be here today.
“We all have to make difficult decisions in life. I had to make a life-changing decision to stand as an independent candidate and leave the Labour Party because of the stance on closing Monklands A&E.
“I am now more pleased than ever to have made that decision and the people of Airdrie who voted for me believed I was right in my motives.”
No one was available for comment at Monklands Hospital.