Vital children’s services to re-open at St John’s Hospital

Paediatric services at St John’s hospital in Livingston are set to re-open after pressure came from West Lothian Council to give assurances that permanent closure was not ahead.

Inpatient service at the ward has been closed for six weeks due to staff shortages but NHS Lothian announced today that 24 hour service would resume on Monday, August 17.

A review into acute paediatric services is planned to find a safe and secure long term service as it remains “fragile” due to difficulties in recruiting specialist medical and nursing staff.

Chief officer of acute services Jim Crombie said: “There is a consensus that the current staffing model is not sustainable for the longer term and that a fundamental review of the acute paediatric service across Lothian is now required.

“The review is being planned in finer detail over the coming weeks and will be carried out over the coming months.”

He added that the chronic recruitment problem was exacerbated by sickness and holiday leave over the summer months and decided to close the ward overnight and at weekends as this was considered the safest option.

The ward was open 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday during the six week period and will now return to 24 hour round the clock service.