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Sturgeon’s A&E move “vindicated”

Scotland’s health secretary Nicola Sturgeon claims an independent report has vindicated her decision to overturn plans to close two accident and emergency units.

The previous Executive had approved that the centres in Ayr and Monklands hospitals should be downgraded to minor injury units, but the SNP announced that it was reversing the decision shortly after it came to power last year.

Ms Sturgeon said a report by an independent panel led by Dr Andrew Walker, senior lecturer in health economics at Glasgow University, backs that stance.

She said that the study found the case for closing “vital accident and emergency services” has not been made by health boards in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire.

She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “I overturned a decision I thought was wrong. That decision has now, I think, been vindicated by a panel of independent experts.”

But former Labour health minister Margaret Curran defended the original decision.

She acknowledged that the report criticises the consultation process, but she insisted the original reasons for axing the A&E units remain valid.

“As I understand it, what the independent scrutiny panels are saying is that the arguments have not been properly put – as opposed to those arguments being wrong,” said Ms Curran.

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