SCOTTISH Health Minister Mr Michael Forsyth yesterday announced

approval for plans by Greater Glasgow Health Board to close the run-down

Stoneyetts Hospital in Moodiesburn, and transfer patients to new

pupose-built accommodation.

The announcement follows a campaign of opposition to the move by staff

unions and the local community, who claim Stoneyetts's condition has

been caused by neglect, and fear its closure would destroy the


Under the plans, the 180 patients, mostly elderly or middle-aged with

senile dementia or mental illness, will be transferred to new units at

Ruchill and Gartnavel hospitals.

In a statement issued by the Scottish Office, Mr Forsyth said the new

accommodation represented a #4.7m investment by the health board which

will not only improve the quality of life for patients, but would

provide better access for them and their relatives.

Mr Forsyth continued: ''There is no doubt that the new units represent

a welcome improvement compared with the out-of-date and badly located

accommodation at Stoneyetts which has outlived its useful life.

''In future, patients will be able to enjoy a better service and

greater personal privacy in modern surroundings.''

A spokesperson for the health board, whose plans form part of its

Mental Health Strategy published in 1987, said the board welcomed Mr

Forsyth's approval of its proposal to close the ''outdated'' hospital.

However, Mr Jim Devine of the health union Cohse, said yesterday that

the campaign of opposition will continue with a meeting on Sunday of

officials from Cohse and Nupe and the 260 staff at Stoneyetts to decide

on a course of action.

Mr Devine added:''The decision today is, quite frankly, an affront to

democracy. One could not have a better environment for public care of

the elderly than at Stoneyetts.

''The only reason for the closure is the health board's substantial

cash shortfall, and we believe that the campaign of opposition has got

to continue.''

Monklands West Labour MP Mr Tom Clarke deplored Mr Forsyth's decision.

He said he was outraged by what he termed a ''ruthless decision made on

commercial not caring grounds''.