Closure of children's ward at St John's is extremely concerning, says Johnstone

Responding to NHS Lothian's decision to close the children's ward at St John's Hospital in Livingston to in-patients from 7 July, Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:

“I am extremely concerned to learn of the planned closure of child inpatient services at St. John’s.  West Lothian is one of the fastest growing parts of Scotland and the loss of this vitally important local service must be addressed.  This brings into sharpest focus the issues facing many parts of the NHS when it comes to recruiting and keeping staff, the heart of the service.  

"It seems that an inability to secure a junior doctor, an experienced consultant and an on-call consultant in the ward overnight mean that safe treatment cannot be guaranteed.  Young patients will now require to travel to Edinburgh, with resultant travel and accommodation costs, not to mention additional pressure on the Sick Kids.  

"While I appreciate patient safety comes first, I call on the Cabinet Secretary to make the re-opening of this important unit a priority, and I will work with her and colleagues of all parties to achieve this."