The chairwoman of Fife’s health board has called for an end to a political row over the naming of Glasgow’s new temporary hospital to treat coronavirus patients.
Former Fife SNP MSP and Holyrood presiding officer Tricia Marwick has spoken out after criticism about the decision to name the new facility in honour of Louisa Jordan, a First World War nurse who died on active service in Serbia in 1915, while providing care as part of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Services.
Born in Maryhill, Glasgow, Louise Jordan signed up to the war effort in December 1914 while working as a Queen’s Nurse in Buckhaven, Fife, and is commemorated on the Buckhaven War Memorial.
Some have questioned the decision because makeshift hospitals south of the border are going under the ‘Nightingale’ banner.
Mrs Marwick – who has been chair of NHS Fife since January 2017 – said: “We are facing the biggest health and economic crisis we have ever known, or will know, and people are whinging about the name of a hospital which will look after very ill people.
“Life is more important than that. Please just stop it.”
Some politicians said they would still refer to the new facility at the SEC in Glasgow as Nightingale Glasgow, former Labour MP Douglas Alexander among them.
He said: “Let’s focus on making a difference and not proving we’re different.
“As a son, grandson and great grandson of Scottish doctors, I think ‘Nightingale Hospital Glasgow’ would surely have better reflected the truth that we’re all in this together.”
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said the NHS Louisa Jordan was a fitting tribute to the nurse’s service and courage.
Dundee City Council leader, John Alexander tweeted: “I despair. Common sense has gone out the window.
“I couldn’t care less if this additional hospital was called NHS Bananarama. Can we get back to the bigger picture?
“(Does) anyone actually think a patient or doctor, nurse, cleaner, engineer cares what the name is?”
I despair🤦♂️ common sense has gone out of the window.
I couldn't care less if this additional hospital was called NHS Bananarama.
Can we get back to the bigger picture?
Anyone actually think a patient or doctor, nurse, cleaner, engineer cares what the name is? #GetAGrip
— Cllr John Alexander (@CllrAlexander) April 2, 2020
The emergency facility announced by the First Minister will be run by NHS Scotland.
It will initially create capacity for 300 extra hospital beds, with the ability to expand to over 1,000 if required.