• STV
  • MySTV

Children's ward 24/7 care delayed due to staff shortages

St John's Hospital, West Lothian, is unable to reinstate round-the-clock services in the department.

Livingston: St John's Hospital is unable to reinstate 24/7 care in its paediatric department.
Livingston: St John's Hospital is unable to reinstate 24/7 care in its paediatric department. Google Maps

It would be unsafe to bring back round-the-clock children's care at a Livingston hospital due to continuing staff shortages, the health secretary has said. 

St John's Hospital is unable to reinstate 24/7 care in its paediatric department after "extensive recruitment efforts" failed to provide safe staffing levels.

The full-time service on the children's ward has been stopped for approximately two years and was due to resume from October.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has now confirmed this will not happen, with a Monday to Thursday inpatient service continuing instead.

There has been no revised opening date given by the Scottish Government.

Ms Freeman said: "Patient safety is always our main concern and I regret that, despite extensive recruitment efforts, the unanimous clinical view is that it is not possible to safely reinstate the full 24/7 service at St John's in Livingston from October.

"I fully appreciate this will be disappointing for local people but I'm sure everyone will understand the safety of patients must be our overriding priority.

"I remain absolutely committed to the full 24/7 reinstatement of the service and know that NHS Lothian will continue their recruitment efforts to make sure they can deliver on the clear commitments they have made to parents and children and the staff at St John's."

Miles Briggs, a Lothian MSP and the Scottish Conservatives' health spokesman, said: "Promises made by Jeanne Freeman and the SNP to parents and families across West Lothian have been broken.

"It is hugely disappointing that the 24/7 paediatric service at St John's will not resume this October as scheduled and families in West Lothian will be rightly very angry.

"Hospitals across Scotland have a shortage of medical professional which leads to the closure of wards and waiting times increasing.

"The lack of workforce management by SNP ministers over the last 12 years has been their single biggest failing running our health service.

"Retention of doctors and nurses is more important than ever which is why Scottish Conservatives have put forward a range of measures to look after those who look after us."

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said the announcement was a "blow" for the service.

The medical director at NHS Lothian, Dr Tracey Gillies, said: "The safety of children has and always will be the overriding priority in any decision relating to the resumption of 24/7 inpatient services in the Children's Ward in St John's.

"We have made encouraging progress in moving towards a safe and sustainable out-of-hours rota and indeed last month recruited two extra consultants.

"Unfortunately, however, we have experienced some unexpected and unavoidable changes within the dynamic of the team in recent weeks.

"The rota has now been assessed and it has unanimously been decided that the service cannot safely step up from four to seven nights at this point.

"We will continue our enhanced efforts to recruit the required staff, which will allow us to fully re-open 24/7 seven days a week.

"In the meantime parents should not do anything differently and if they need access to healthcare, they should still contact their GP, out of hours services via NHS24 or go straight to accident and emergency, if required."

The children's ward has admitted 456 children as inpatients since March, when the four-night-a-week service came into place.

There have been 1194 admissions for medical assessments and 845 children have been seen as part of its programmed investigation service.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.