Full service resumes at the St John’s Hospital children’s ward

The children’s ward at St John’s Hospital, Livingston has resumed full service today (Monday 30 July 2012).

The Lothian NHS Board took the difficult decision to make temporary changes to the services provided from the children’s ward for a period of three weeks during July to ensure patient safety. During this time, NHS Lothian has worked closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS 24 and GPs to provide a safe and effective service for the children of West Lothian.

Staffing levels have now returned to a point where a full service can be provided.

Additional staff have also been recruited to support the team at St John’s hospital in the long term. Three new consultant neonatologists and two consultant paediatricians will take up post in the coming weeks.

Trainee doctors will also return to the children’s ward, with two due to start in August.

NHS Lothian has always maintained that it is dedicated to sustaining children’s and maternity services at the hospital and the arrival of the new staff underlines that commitment.

Dr David Farquharson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian said:

“The medical and nursing staff at St John’s made Herculean efforts in order to maintain children’s and maternity services. Despite this, for the three weeks in July, we were unable to ensure that adequate back-up was in place if there was an unplanned absence.

“The alternative, of crossing fingers and hoping for the best, was not good enough.

“I am delighted to say now that the department is stronger than ever and we are back to full strength to provide the high quality of care associated with St John’s Hospital.”