A CONSULTANT at Monklands General Hospital claims patients are dying because medical staff are overworked.
Dr Martin Watt, a consultant at the Airdrie hospital's accident and emergency unit, said: "It is an unpalatable fact that people are dying in our hospitals because doctors and nurses are stretched beyond the limit.
"They are simply unable to give patients the attention to detail that is required and as a result, unfortunately, people are dying needlessly."
Dr Watt made his attack at an event organised by new political party Scottish Voice NHSFirst.
There has been a storm of protest over NHS Lanarkshire's plan to downgrade Monklands A&E department to a minor injuries unit.
Dr Watt, who has been a doctor for 27 years and a consultant for 12, said he decided to go public "before the whole system caves in".
Although he risks disciplinary action, he said: "I can no longer stand back and allow this disastrous state of affairs to continue unchallenged.
"The truth is that at Monklands and at other NHS hospitals throughout the country there is simply not enough capacity.
"The problem is that while people coming into A&E might be seen before the four-hour waiting time target, some will require further treatment.
"Then they are often left waiting in corridors for between 12 and 18 hours because there are no beds available on the wards."
Dr Watt said patients were dying, particularly from pulmonary emboli or blot clots, because staff did not have the time, or sometimes the drugs, to prevent it.
He claimed the increase in MRSA and other hospital infections was a direct consequence of badly-run regimes.
"The fact is that unless you are young, fit and relatively healthy, NHS hospitals are not places in which you want to end up."
He also blamed top-heavy management for failing to address the needs of frontline clinical staff and patients.
When more resources were needed, Dr Watt said staff were often told to make a "business case" for them.
Dr Watt's attack was made as Labour's campaign in Airdrie and Shotts was caught claiming Monklands A&E was "not closing" though there has been no change to the plan to downgrade it.
Dr Watt said the claim by Labour candidate Karen Whitefield was "dishonest spin".
An NHS Lanarkshire spokesman claimed Dr Watt's views were not shared by other senior staff. He added: "All our staff work extremely hard to deliver first-class services. Comments which undermine their efforts are unfair and unhelpful."