Local Cleft Palate Clinics Closed despite SNP Promises

When Shona Robison announced in 2016 the closure of the East of Scotland cleft surgery unit in Edinburgh- which Miles and parents campaigned hard against- she assured people that “ local outreach clinics, will continue to be delivered locally as they are now, across Scotland”.

A Written Answer (see attached) shows that in two areas local clinics stopped altogether in 2017 with no indication of when they might start again. This means extra travelling and inconvenience for families, as well as having limited dates when they can be seen.

There has been a reduction in the number of Multi-Disciplinary Clinics (MDC) in Edinburgh.

The service is also still short of the third surgeon that it needs.

Miles Briggs comments:

“It is very apparent that the SNP Ministers decision to centralise the Cleft Palate Service has been a disaster.

“The families of babies and young people who require the service are the ones losing out and there is also an inferior service being provided.

“I am particularly concerned that parents are being forced to travel so far for appointments, often for longer than the recommended limit for new born babies.”

Evonne McLatchie, lead campaigner to save the Edinburgh cleft unit, comments:

“Parents in the East are angry but not the least surprised as the promises Ms Robison made were as predicted not worth the paper they were printed on.

“Many families in the East don't even have correct contact details and it is parents that are driving patient reviews and consultations for their children having to resort to asking questions on Facebook to get answers for their concerns and then chasing up appointments.

“Shona Robison stated repeatedly that centralisation would improve care especially if someone was off- that has yet to be proven!

“The majority of parents are afraid to voice concerns as they have to work with the service for perhaps the next 20 years and despite assurances that any complaint won't affect care they simply don't want to risk it.

“During the consultation process a member of the NSD predicted that once centralisation was in place parents would accept the new service simply because they have no realistic alternative, boy was he right!”


Miles Briggs