St John's Hospital shop campaign gets MSP backing

A campaign to save the “essential” shop at Livingston’s St John’s Hospital has been highlighted to Scotland’s health secretary.

Labour’s Holyrood spokesperson on Health Jackie Baillie MSP has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf outlining concerns about the possible loss of the shop.

The shop unit, run by the national retailer Compass, is set to close at the end of the week after the firm opted not to renew its lease. It has seen footfall drop 65% since the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Mrs Baillie told the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week: “Jackie Baillie MSP shares concerns around the closure of the Hospital Shop at St John’s. She has written to the Cabinet Secretary on your behalf to raise this as a matter of urgency.”

St Johns Hospital, Livingston. Photo by Lisa Ferguson.

Councillor Fitzpatrick, re-elected as leader of the minority led Labour group which runs West Lothian Council said earlier: “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.

“This critical issue requires the immediate intervention of The Cabinet Secretary for Health.”

Neither NHS Lothian nor Compass Group Healthcare Retail, would be drawn on details of the lease.

A spokesperson for Compass Group Healthcare Retail said last week :”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.

“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.”

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.”