Labour calls for action on St John’s Children’s Ward

Labour has demanded that Jeane Freeman, the new health secretary, implement a staffing strategy which will allow the Children’s Ward and St. John’s to provide inpatient services.

At present, parents in and around Livingston are having to drive 30 miles to a hospital in Edinburgh when their child is taken sick. The Royal College of Paediatrics backed a new staffing schedule last year to meet the needs of out-of-hours patients.

It’s just one of many examples of Scotland’s NHS staffing crisis. Over a thousand extra doctors, nurses, and midwives are needed just to meet current staffing needs - which will only increase with the ageing population. Vacancies for doctors and nurses increased by 25 per cent over the last year.

Local Labour MSP Neil Findlay said:

“The SNP government has been utterly complacent over the growing problems at St John’s.

“It has now been a year since the children’s ward was closed to out of hours admissions – and in that time the SNP has done nothing to improve services.

“People need a 24/7 children’s ward in Livingston – this has been recognised by two reports from the Royal College of Paediatrics, yet we are going backwards rather than forwards with the ward closing to out of hours patients three times in the past five years.

“This is all down to a workforce crisis under the SNP, with not enough staff to fill the vacancies to deliver the care patients need.

“After 365 days, it is time for SNP ministers to finally see sense and set in motion a plan that will deliver a proper staffing model for the hospital so that local people get the service they need and deserve.”

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