Children’s ward set for another staff shortage closure

St John's Hospital, Livingston , Pic Lisa Ferguson
St John's Hospital, Livingston , Pic Lisa Ferguson
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A children’s unit at a busy hospital will close for a day because of staff shortages.

Bosses at NHS Lothian announced the children’s short stay assessment unit at St John’s Hospital in Livingston will be closed on Saturday December 9.

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Staffing and recruitment issues forced the health board to close the paediatric ward to inpatients back in June, with the facility then being used as a day assessment unit.

They will now not be able to open the unit at all as a result of “late notification of clinician availability”.

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Jacquie Campbell, chief officer of acute services at NHS Lothian, said: “The safety of our patients must be our top priority and for that reason the unit will not open on Saturday.

“Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reliably secure the levels of staffing required on Saturday to guarantee a safe service.

“This is the safest option for the children of West Lothian and normal service will resume on Sunday.”

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Children will still be treated in the A&E department at the West Lothian hospital and a paediatric consultant will be on call, with maternity and neonatal services not affected by the closure.

The unit will reopen on Sunday December 10. Children who need to be admitted to hospital on Saturday will be sent to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian said it was working closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS 24 and local GPs to provide a “safe and reliable service”.