Hospital treatment for kids ‘not acceptable’
1000 sent to Edinburgh
Nearly 1000 kids have been transferred from St John’s Hospital in Livingston to the Sick Kids in Edinburgh since the children’s ward first closed to inpatients.
Since July 2017, a total of 859 children have been transferred from St John’s Hospital to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, 732 of whom required to be admitted.
However a letter from Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to Lothian MSP Neil Findlay revealed that, as of September 24 2018, a total of 954 kids have been transferred to the Sick Kids since the troubled ward’s first three week closure in 2012.
Of those transfers 790 have required admission to an inpatient bed and 164 children have been sent home.
Mr Findlay, Labour MSP for Lothian said the figures were “utterly unacceptable”.
He said: “By today it is likely that 1,000 children will have had to be sent to Edinburgh for treatment because of the SNP’s failure on NHS staffing. That’s 1,000 families who have had to endure up to 60 miles of travel, stress, delays and expense just to get their children treatment.
“That is utterly unacceptable – and still happening despite a commitment from the SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman that fully reopening the ward was her highest priority.
“Instead, families in West Lothian look set to have to endure at least 36 months of more closures and failures.
“Far too many families have had to travel past their local hospital to Edinburgh for treatment when they should have been treated in St John’s.”
Cross party politicians also condemned the latest figures.
Angela Constance, SNP MSP for Almond Valley, said: “It is simply not good enough that nearly 1000 West Lothian children have been transferred into Edinburgh instead of being cared for locally.
“I continue to call on NHS Lothian to pick up the pace and return our first class children’s ward to a 24/7 service.
“The Health Secretary has outlined the progress with staff recruitment in her recent statement and will update Parliament in January.
“I will be meeting the Health Secretary once again this month and will be accompanied by West Lothian parents who make a very powerful case as to why a 24/ 7 service is needed. The need for a 24/ 7 children’s ward is clear when you listen to parents.”
Mi l e s Briggs, Conservative MSP for Lothian and Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Families in West Lothian are being badly let down by the closure of inpatients services at St. Johns children’s ward.
“A Ministerial Statement last month left us no clearer on when the St John’s children’s ward would resume a full 24/7 service.
“The SNP government are not any further forward in reopening the children’s ward at St John’s and the number of children being transferred to the sick kids hospital in Edinburgh is going to continue to rise.”
Jacquie Campbell, chief officer for Acute Service, NHS Lothian said patient safety must always be the top priority.
She said: “We are committed to increasing staffing levels and reinstating the 24/ 7 paediatric inpatient service in St John’s Hospital when it is safe and sustainable to do so.
“On 26 September 2018, we announced that we had moved a step closer to reinstating the paediatric inpatient service following the recruitment of three new trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) to paediatric services in Lothian.
“Our recruitment drive is active and ongoing and we have just advertised two Consultants posts for St John’s Hospital, as well as up to three Trained Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) posts. The creation of a multidisciplinary team of consultants, nurses and a greater number of ANPs will help to achieve a safe and sustainable staffing model.
“We assist with transport for any family who is travelling between West Lothian and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, including scheduled travel and taxis when needed.”
Keeping on Campaigners want to see the full service at St John’s children’s ward reinstated