TWO Scots hospitals have been renamed...

but no-one knows anything about it.

Crosshouse Hospital near Kilmarnock is now called University Hospital Crosshouse, as a result of a partnership with the University of the West of Scotland.

While Ayr Hospital is now University Hospital Ayr.

The Ayrshire and Arran Health Board say the changes are being made to strengthen links with the university and increase the teaching capacity of the hospitals.

However politicians, unions and patients have hit out that the switch has been made without any consultation.

It's been revealed that board members gave the green light for the new names nine months ago but it has rarely been mentioned aside from a paragraph in the board's own newsletter.

A Unison spokesman said it had not been party to any discussions about the changes.

Board officials say the total cost of the changes amounts to just £1200, the cost of changing the signage of both hospitals plus VAT.

However, the speed at which the changes are being brought in has left many suspicious over the true cost of the plan.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon is due to officially unveil the new names on March 5 but the signs have already been unveiled and they are listed as such on the NHS Ayrshire and Arran website.

It follows a similar controversy, more than a quarter of a century ago when North Ayrshire and District General Hospital was renamed Crosshouse Hospital.

There was some confusion over the vote for the new name at a health board meeting which led to claims the changes were railroaded through.

South of Scotland regional MSP Graeme Pearson said: "I was at the hospital three weeks ago to discuss other changes and this wasn't mentioned. I find it a bit strange. It seems to have come out of the blue.

"One would hope there would be an explanation about why it is happening and what the benefits will be for patients and staff. It will be making people uneasy."

A spokeswoman for NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: "For some time, NHS Ayrshire & Arran has enjoyed a strong and productive relationship with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), initially around nursing and midwifery training.

"Building on this relationship Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board, in partnership with UWS, took the decision to pursue University Hospital status for Ayr Hospital and Crosshouse Hospital.

"The two hospitals will be named University Hospital Ayr and University Hospital Crosshouse. "

A University of the West of Scotland spokesperson said: "The University is excited by the move to University hospital status, which consolidates our strong relationship with the board and recognises the excellence of the board's staff."