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by Tom Freeman
30 January 2019
Livingston children’s ward to reopen

Children's ward - credit Steven Depolo

Livingston children’s ward to reopen

The children’s ward at Livingston’s busy St John’s hospital is to reopen to inpatients after 18 months of closure due to staffing issues, NHS Lothian has announced.

The future of the service was thrown into doubt in 2015 after the health board considered closing or downgrading the ward despite it treating 3,000 youngsters a year.

It was then closed to inpatients 18 months ago because of a failure to attract staff. 

Children could attend during normal working hours, but those requiring a stay in hospital were transferred to Edinburgh.

The children’s ward will reopen from March, but only for four days a week.

Announcing the plans in parliament, health secretary Jeane Freeman said full reinstatement would happen in October.

She said NHS Lothian believed a four-night interim arrangement will help attract two consultants which the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says the facility needs.

“We will continue to act, as we have done, to provide assistance and support to the board, to monitor progress closely and to work towards delivery of 24/7 paediatric in-patient services at St John’s from October this year,” she said.

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “We have always said that we could only restore the full service when it was safe and sustainable to do so and that has been our priority throughout.”

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