Briggs Condemns Shona Robinson over No Progress at St. John’s Hospital Paediatric Service Half a Year On

The decision was made on 7 July 2017 to implement an interim mode for the inpatient paediatric service at St. John’s hospital in Livingston. This consists of a Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit (SSPAU) operating between 09:00 hours to 20:00 hours, Monday to Friday. The SSPAU has been able to open on weekends through staff doing additional hours and locum shifts, but this is not always possible.

At the time Shona Robinson stated that NHS Lothian’s aim was to “return to a full service within the children's ward at St John’s Hospital as soon as possible after the summer.” (s5w-09991). A report was commissioned by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to sustain a 24/7 staffing model. The conclusion of the report was that 24 hour consultant and Tier 2 [middle grade] cover was the desired option, but this depended on the successful recruitment of consultants, Advance Nurse Practitioners (ANP) and Speciality and Associate Specialist Doctors.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP for Lothian, Comments:

“It is totally unacceptable that we are still in the same position half a year on and that we still have no date for the reopening fully of this vital children’s ward.

“ The continuing closure of the ward means West Lothian families face lengthy and costly extra journeys to the Sick Kids’ in Edinburgh to visit their child in hospital.

“ West Lothian residents need very clear assurances from NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government that comprehensive workforce plans are in process to recruit the extra staff required to allow the ward to be fully reopened and for this situation not to arise again in future years.

“ I will continue to urge the Scottish Government to make this a priority issue and work with NHS Lothian to implement the long term solutions required to allow the ward both to reopen without delay and stay open on a sustainable basis.”


Miles Briggs