The consultants’ letter

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Here we provide a copy of the letter sent by the consultants

Dear Dr Farquharson,

We as a consultant group are writing to you directly to outline our concerns about our ability to provide a full-time quality paediatric and neonatal service to the paediatric and obstetric patients of West Lothian.

We are now concerned that we cannot continue to guarantee continuity of care and safe clinical care at all times of the day and night. There are significant problems guaranteeing safe and continuous care out of hours.

The problems staffing a safe paediatric and neonatal service in St John’s Hospital have increased over the last 2-3 years but have become particularly acute in the last 3 months. Looking forward we do not see the situation changing in the near future.

Gaps in out of hours cover are increasingly filled by current senior medical staff carrying out extra duty. We do not think this a sustainable solution.

Over the years a number of possible solutions have been discussed, including advanced nurse practitioners and specialist non-consultant grade doctors working with us to provide full and safe 24-hour service. Unfortunately we have been unable to attract suitable medical staff and the nurse practitioner approach has been not been adequately realised to date.

As a group of paediatric consultant doctors we remain committed to providing a safe and continuous clinical service to our client population in West Lothian.

We look forward to your considered response and would value the opportunity to meet you and your team to discuss the situation, in the near future.

Yours,

Paediatric consultant group, St John’s Hospital