Council demands public consultation

St Johns Hospital, Livingston
St Johns Hospital, Livingston

Parents and carers are set to air their views on a controversial review into children’s health services at NHS Lothian.

West Lothian Council said if the health board did not agree to a public meeting, it would arrange to host one instead and called for the findings to be made public before the Scottish elections in May.

Council leader John McGinty said: “No downgrade of paediatric services at St John’s Hospital is acceptable. Indeed the council’s position is that further investment should be made in paediatrics in West Lothian.

“Parents and carers expect to be able to hear direct from NHS Lothian what the review is about and to have their voices heard.”

NHS Lothian said the views of parents and carers “will play an important part in the review” which is why a questionnaire was issued to a “wide range of stakeholder groups” last month.

A series of focus groups are also planned in February and details would be “publicised in due course”.

Jim Crombie, chief officer of acute services, said: “We should not pre-empt the outcome of the review.

“The findings will be presented to the NHS Lothian board at its June meeting and any service developments which emerge from it will be subject to full staff and public engagement and consultation including further meetings with the public.”

Fiona Hyslop MSP met with the team conducting the review so they could understand the strength of local feeling towards this review and that a 24-hour, seven days per week service should continue.

She said maintaining the service was crucial to a community with a growing population.