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Paper hails people power as 18-month A&E fight is won

The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser is celebrating following the news that the accident and emergency unit at Monklands Hospital in Lanarkshire has been saved from closure.

The weekly newspaper has campaigned vigorously to keep the unit open for the past 18 months, with more than 60,000 signatures gathered in support.

And as it learnt that the service was to be saved, it said it was “people power” which had won the day.

Advertiser editor John Murdoch said: “This is tremendous news for everyone in Airdrie and Coatbridge, and is a great victory for all of our readers who supported us in our campaign to save Monklands A&E.”

The closure threat featured heavily in the paper throughout the campaign, making the front page numerous times.

The paper also organised a “Hands Around Monklands” human chain protest near the hospital and launched a petition and campaign posters.

Its fight was originally unsuccessful, when health chiefs voted to downgrade Monklands to a planned care hospital, retaining a minor injuries and illness service but not emergency treatment.

But the Advertiser continued fighting, leading to closure plans being overturned by the newly-elected SNP which had made saving the A&E a key election pledge.

John said: “We are absolutely delighted.

“However this is only the first step and we’ve got to keep the pressure on and ensure the promise is kept.”