Calls for Scottish Government intervention after St John’s Hospital loses shop

St John’s Hospital in Livingston is set to lose its shop, used by patients, staff and visitors, at the end of the month.

The shop’s operator Compass is not renewing the lease, having signed a 12 month extension last year.

Footfall in the shop has been at 65% of pre-pandemic levels and Compass said the store had not been viable “for some time”.

A spokesperson for Compass Group Healthcare Retail said: ”Our lease at Livingston hospital has expired and we took the decision not to renew as the store has not been financially viable for some time.

St John’s hospital in Livingston is set to lose its shop, used by patients, staff and visitors, at the end of the month.

“We recognise this is a challenging time for our employees and we have been doing all that we can to find them alternative employment at other sites we operate.”

West Lothian Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick called for an intervention by the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

He said: “I’m very concerned to learn that the shop will close on 23 July and that five staff shall lose their jobs.

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“The shop is an essential part of any major hospital and provides a wide variety of goods for patients, staff and visitors.

“This will have the effect of our much loved St Johns being the only major hospital in central Scotland without a shop for essential toiletry goods, newspapers and magazines, greeting cards, confectionery and the like.”

Councillor Fitzpatrick added: “A steady stream of patients use the shop daily The nearest retail facility is the Co-op opposite the hospital entrance on Howden Road West but that would be a dangerous journey for patients with ambulant or cognitive impairment.”

Compass has operated the hospital shop for the last 13 years.

Aris Tyrothoulakis, the site director at St. John’s Hospital, said: “The current shop tenant has served notice that they are terminating the lease at the end of July 2022. We are currently in the process of finding a new tenant to replace the service as soon as possible.”

“The shop is one of several areas in the hospital for staff and patients to buy food and drink including the canteen and the café shop, and other retailers that sell a range of products are within walking distance.”