An MSP stated a vital report into the future of paediatric services in Livingston was delayed by NHS Lothian and not the Scottish Government.
The children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, which could face closure or a reduction in hours, is currently at the centre of a political row.
Following revelations concerning certain e-mails, opposition parties and other organisations are accusing the SNP of forcing health bosses to delay the publication of the review into the matter until after the May elections.
However, Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop stated this week the decision to wait until June, not March, to make the report public was taken by NHS Lothian and the independent review team.
She said: “This is an independent review – independent of any political party and any timelines are between the independent review and NHS Lothian. The fact The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child’s Health advised not all of the Royal College’s independent expert review team would be able to start work before January rather than the originally envisaged November, is a matter for them.
“My constituents don’t want to see political arguments about process they want to see a positive response from the independent review group and that is what I will be focusing my attention on.
“My focus as local MSP is to make the case first and foremost for children’s services at St John’s Hospital. The clinical support overnight at St John’s underpins maternity and special baby care services and the connection between provision makes a strong case to maintain overnight paediatric services in the hospital.”
St John’s was forced to partially close the children’s ward last summer due to staffing levels. This led to calls for an immediate examination into children’s health care across NHS Lothian.
Earlier this month The Action to Save St John’s group stated the review matter had been “covered up”, while Lothian MSP Neil Findlay said the people of West Lothian had the right to read the report before the election so they could make an informed choice on who to vote for.
Visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RCPCHLothian to get your views across on the pan Lothian review of paediatric services.