Johnstone questions Health Secretary over closure of children's ward at St John's

Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, today (27 June) questioned the Health Secretary over NHS Lothian's decision to once again close the children's ward at St John's Hospital in Livingston.

Alison said:

"Around 1,000 children are admitted to the hospital every year and this is the third time inpatient services have been closed temporarily. It's simply unacceptable.

"Today I pressed the Health Secretary to publish the promised National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, which we had been told would be ready by last year. Now we learn that this will be published this week. Workforce planning is critical to the issues faced at St John's.

"Several doctors have been on long term sick with consultant posts being advertised nationally for a third time. There is a chronic shortage of paediatricians. Across Scotland, between March 2016 and March this year, there was a 4.2 per cent decrease in paediatric consultants.

"The staffing issues causing so much stress to children and families who use St John's won't be solved overnight but it's clear the Scottish Government have not given these issues the priority attention they deserve."