Children's ward at West Lothian hospital to reopen 24/7 after three years

24/7 children's services have resumed at St John's Hospital24/7 children's services have resumed at St John's Hospital
24/7 children's services have resumed at St John's Hospital
St John’s Hospital in Livingston has returned to 24/7 children’s services after more than three years.

The paediatric unit was closed for 18 months in summer 2017 due to staff shortages, and reopened four nights a week in March 2019.

It was due to return to 24/7 operation in October 2019, but failed to fully re-open as planned.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The closure and partial closure meant that young patients were routinely transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, often requiring longer travel times and increased disruption.

Now after a number of recruitment campaigns the on-site team at St John’s has been expanded, allowing services to increase.

The latest recruitment drive saw two consultants and one locum added to the team as well as a small number of ward nursing staff.

The availability of Advanced Paediatric Nurse Practitioners has also increased.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Children who are very sick or needing specialist intervention will still be transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, in line with existing protocols.

Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director at NHS Lothian, said a significant amount of work had been undertaken by NHS Lothian and the Paediatric Programme Board to allow this development.

She said: “We recognise how important having access to a 24/7 service is for children and their families in West Lothian. NHS Lothian has always been fully committed to restoring the 24/7 service at St John’s, but our priority was to do this in a way which was both safe and sustainable.”

“The availability of a 24/7 children’s service will make a welcome difference for people living in the West Lothian area, and the team are delighted to have reached this stage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When we received the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health review of the service in May 2020, it contained praise for our "considerable and impressive efforts" to restore the 24/7 service. I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and thank staff for their hard work and dedication in supporting and enabling this development to happen.”

A report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) released in June concluded that staffing levels at that time were “extremely fragile”, with the ability to provide four nights a week of overnight care potentially threatened by just one staff member taking unexpected leave.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director