Coady’s cru­sade is to re­store kids ward

Liv­ingston mum wants 24-hour ser­vice back

West Lothian Courier - - 11.10.2018 - Sean O’Neil

A mum has launched a cam­paign with two politi­cians that hopes to give voice to the par­ents af­fected by the clo­sure of the chil­dren’s ward at St John’s Hos­pi­tal to in­pa­tients.

Coady Dor­man, from Brox­burn, has teamed up with An­gela Con­stance, SNP MSP for Al­mond Val­ley, and Han­nah Bardell, SNP MP for Liv­ingston, in a bid to re­turn the hos­pi­tal ward to a 24/7 ser­vice.

The cam­paign­ers have been speak­ing to those af­fected by the re­duc­tion in ser­vice and have or­gan­ised a meet­ing to present the per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences of the par­ents and their chil­dren di­rectly to the Health Sec­re­tary, Jeane Free­man.

The trio are also ap­peal­ing for more par­ents to come for­ward and have their ex­pe­ri­ences heard as they try to present a pos­i­tive plat­form for those af­fected and put their voices front and cen­tre to the cam­paign.

Con­stance said: “I want to make sure that the voice of par­ents and their chil­dren is ab­so­lutely cen­tral to the cam­paign to re­turn our first class and much loved chil­dren’s ward to a 24/7 ser­vice.

“Many par­ents have con­tacted me with their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences of why the chil­dren’s ward is so im­por­tant to their fam­ily.

“For chil­dren with com­plex or chronic con­di­tions they can ei­ther be cared for lo­cally or spend less time in more spe­cial­ist city based ser­vices.

“A 24/ 7 ser­vice re­duces the fi­nan­cial and emo­tional costs to fam­i­lies and is bet­ter for the sick child’s gen­eral well­be­ing.

“I am pleased that the Health Sec­re­tary, Jeanne Free­man MSP, has agreed to meet with me to hear di­rectly from par­ents.

“In ad­vance of that meet­ing I would ap­peal to West Loth­ian par­ents to con­tact me to say why the chil­dren’s ward is so im­por­tant to their fam­ily and I will present all of th­ese tes­ti­monies to the Health Sec­re­tary.

“It was very help­ful to hear from par­ents and to be able to sub­mit tes­ti­monies from par­ents to the Royal Col­lege of Pae­di­a­tri­cians when they were un­der­tak­ing their in­de­pen­dent re­views.

“The Royal Col­lege have twice con­cluded that a lo­cal 24/ 7 chil­dren’s ward is mer­ited and needed. I have no doubts that voices of par­ents and chil­dren helped them to reach that con­clu­sion.”

Coady Dor­man, whose son Matthew uses the ward reg­u­larly, said she hopes the new ap­proach to the cam­paign will make a dif­fer­ence.

Coady said: “I’m work­ing closely with Han­nah Bardell and An­gela Con­stance on try­ing to re­solve the mat­ter of the chil­dren’s ward.

“I am cur­rently com­pil­ing case stud­ies from a few af­fected fam­i­lies to gather their sto­ries of how the lack of 24- hour ser­vice in their com­mu­nity has af­fected their vul­ner­a­ble child and fam­ily. I hope that this slightly more em­pathic ap­proach will make the de­ci­sion mak­ers sit up in their seats.

“As a par­ent of a vul­ner­a­ble child my­self I am com­mit­ted to re­solv­ing the is­sue along­side Han­nah and An­gela, and our next hope is to get some sort of time­line so we can all be a lit­tle less anx­ious and know that our beloved ward will re­turn to nor­mal­ity.”

Bardell said: “Hav­ing been in reg­u­lar con­tact with staff at the ward and par­ents of chil­dren it’s very clear that there is united sup­port for a full 24-hour ser­vice and that is pos­si­ble with fur­ther ef­forts from NHS Loth­ian. Par­ents lo­cally are very keen for this to hap­pen and there is unan­i­mous cross party sup­port.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has given sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment and sup­port and it’s very clear to me that the an­swers lie with NHS Loth­ian. They need to step up their game and work more pro-ac­tively to make this hap­pen.

“I will con­tinue to press them to en­sure this hap­pens ASAP.”

Com­mit­ted Coady Dor­man with son Matthew out­side St John’s Hos­pi­tal

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