NHS Lothian has admitted that the that the Paediatric ward at St John’s Hospital cannot yet re-open as there is not yet a safe level of cover which would allow them to do do.
Health bosses made the announcement yesterday (Thursday) that the closure which came into play last July will be continuing.
However it has emerged that some steps have been taken to deal with the shutdown.
Three new trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) have been appointed to paediatric services in Lothian and more posts will be advertised.
A multi-disciplinary team of consultants, nurses and a greater number of ANPs is being created, to provide a safe and sustainable staffing model.
Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, said: “We are delighted to announce that we have appointed three new members of staff to our team. These new posts show our commitment to restoring the service as quickly as possible and are a really exciting breakthrough.
“Our previous recruitment campaigns did not provide the numbers of medical staff necessary for the continuous out of hours cover that we need, so we have had to create smarter ways of delivering safe, effective and sustainable paediatric inpatient services for children in Lothian.
“The new recruits will take up full duties as soon as their rigorous training is complete.
However, the continued nature of the closure has prompted a cross-party storm of protest.
For more on this story, see next week’s print edition.