Shona Robison confirms closure of Paisley children’s ward after ‘overwhelming clinical support’

Written by Tom Freeman on 23 January 2018 in News

Closure of children’s ward labelled Shona Robison’s “Nick Clegg moment” by opposition

Shona Robison - Scottish Parliament

Plans to close the children’s ward at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital has been confirmed by Health Secretary Shona Robison.

Children’s in-patient services will now be transferred to Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children under the plans, which were first proposed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

There has been vocal opposition to the move from members of the community, who have argued travelling to Glasgow will put children at risk and increase costs for families.

In a statement to MSPs Robison acknowledged “understandable concerns” but said both the board and clinicians had made a “compelling case” for the move.

“I hope that local families, members of the campaign group and members of the Scottish Parliament will understand that I have made this decision in good faith, informed by all the available evidence and representations,” she said.

“With the underpinning conditions that I have put in place, I believe that the decision is in the best interests of children across the Clyde area.”

Two conditions have been attached to the approval, she added. The first is that community-based paediatric services must be improved and the second is that access plans must be individualised for patients.

But opposition figures said the SNP had broken an election pledge.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “I believe that today will go down as Nicola Sturgeon’s and the health secretary’s Nick Clegg moment in this Parliament.

“Now, we see the health secretary and the SNP back benchers hanging their heads in shame in order to justify the decision to Parliament, breaking a key election pledge that was made to families across the west of Scotland.”

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “When Nicola Sturgeon was confronted by a local resident live on national television, she said ‘There are no plans to close this ward. I pledge to keep hospital services local.’

“The cabinet secretary’s decision is a betrayal of local people. How can we trust a word that she or her Government says ever again?”

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