Briggs Supports Motion that St. John’s Paediatric Ward Should Resume 24/7 Service

News Release from Miles Briggs MSP:

Briggs Supports Motion that St. John’s Paediatric Ward Should Resume 24/7 Service

Miles Briggs spoke today in the Parliamentary debate on St. John’s hospital children’s ward still being closed to out of hours inpatients.

When this latest closure was announced last June, the third in as many years, NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government indicated that a full service would be reinstated “as soon as possible after the summer.”

The impression was clearly given that we would see a 24/7 service resumed last autumn but many months later we appear to be no nearer a re-opening and local people are understandably disappointed and annoyed.

Families in West Lothian have had to see their children admitted to Edinburgh’s Sick Kids’ Hospital instead of St John’s that has extra travelling times, expenses and stresses for parents who are already worried and anxious about their child’s health.

The number of patient journeys by ambulance from St John’s to the Sick Kids increasing four fold when the ward is closed to inpatients compared to when it is fully open, adding extra pressures on the Sick Kids and on our over-stretched ambulance services.

Miles has called on the Scotland Deanery to launch a review of where paediatric training takes place in the South East Scotland region with a view to ensuring that trainee medics can choose to undertake part or all of their paediatric training at St John’s.

Miles Briggs comments:

“This is an issue that is very important to so many families in West Lothian.

“It is difficult to overstate the level of concern, frustration and indeed anger felt by West Lothian residents at the continuing closure of the kids’ ward at St John’s to out-of-hours inpatients.

“It is not only parents and families who are angry, but also the hard working ambulance staff, as well as the brilliant paediatric nurses, doctors and consultants at both the Sick Kids and at St John’s, who have been let down by an abject failure over many years by NHS Lothian and this Scottish Government to put in place robust, credible, long-term workforce plans at St John’s that allow the kids ward to operate sustainably on a full time basis, despite warning after warning.

“A Paediatric training school at St. John’s Hospital would raise the status of children’s services at St John’s, provide more medics to assist the consultant team there and mean medical students have experience of the hospital’s kids ward and the fantastic opportunities at St John’s and therefore can consider it, and not just larger or more specialist hospitals like the Sick Kids, when they are applying for full time positions.


Miles Briggs