26 June 2020



Overnight paediatric services at St John’s Hospital in West Lothian could be scrapped if the hospital is not able resume them full time in the next year and a half, according to a new report.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has been investigating children’s care at the hospital since overnight services were suspended in 2017 because of staff shortages.

In March 2019, overnight care began again at the Livingston hospital four nights a week and it was hoped that full time cover would be reinstated shortly thereafter.

However in the RCPCH report on the investigations findings, it is suggested that the hospital may have to become a short stay paediatric assessment unit, with children who need overnight care being treated in hospitals elsewhere.

According to the report, arrangements for children’s care at the hospital are ‘extremely fragile’ and there are concerns that if any of the 23 clinicians currently working in the service were to leave or become ill the services would become unsustainable.

Commenting, Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said:

“It is deeply concerning that staffing issues could mean that overnight paediatric services at St John’s will cease completely.

“If the service is downgraded to a short stay assessment unit then children in West Lothian will lose access to overnight care close to home.

“This situation has been going on for seven years, and the needs of the community are not being met.

“It is vital that staff numbers are addressed immediately so that the threat to paediatric services can be properly challenged and removed.”

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