St John’s Hospital children’s ward closure repeat rated a ‘high risk’

It is feared that St John's Hospital's children's ward may have to close in the summer

It is feared that St John's Hospital's children's ward may have to close in the summer

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HEALTH chiefs have admitted there is a “high risk” that the children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston will have to close again in the summer.

A report by the NHS planning group for south-east Scotland and Tayside warned staff shortages were putting services at risk in paediatric wards throughout Scotland.

The Evening News revealed in November that consultants were being paid £1800 for a single night shift at St John’s because of staffing problems.

The children’s ward was shut for three weeks last summer. The new report warned “further gaps” in staffing were likely this year.

It said: “There is a high risk that the circumstances that led to the temporary closure will recur unless rota gaps left by the withdrawal of trainee cover out of hours can be filled with alternative arrangements.”

Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Alex Salmond has said everything will be fine. The opposite is the case and the crisis is growing.”