Sturgeon in hospital ward closure talks

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HEALTH Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has met with West Lothian Council officials to discuss the temporary closure of the children’s ward at St John’s Hospital.

The council has criticised NHS Lothian’s plans to shut the ward for three weeks from Monday, due to a staffing crisis.

A spokesman said that at yesterday’s meeting, Ms Sturgeon said she was unable to find a resolution to the immediate staffing issues, but gave reassurances over the long-term commitment to the children’s ward at the hospital.

Council leader John McGinty said: “We made it clear to the Cabinet Secretary that the people of West Lothian are strongly opposed to any reduction in paediatric services at St John’s, even on a short-term basis.

“We are severely disappointed that the Cabinet Secretary felt unable to intervene and ensure services are not withdrawn during July.”