Hospital set for ‘important milestone’ with reopening of children’s ward

Hospital bosses are preparing for an “important milestone” when a children’s ward that has been shut for almost two years re-opens to inpatients.

The ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston has not been able to provide round the clock care due to staffing pressures since July 2017.

But it will be open four nights a week from Monday March 18, as a step towards it being fully re-opened in October.

Youngsters can be admitted as inpatients from Monday through to Thursday, with the ward functioning as a short stay assessment unit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “This is a really important milestone for us and we are really pleased that we can reinstate the inpatient paediatric service.

“Parents don’t have to do anything differently, they will still access care in the same way, if it is during the week or weekend.

“It does mean, however, that patients who would have been travelling through to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children for inpatient treatment will be able to stay in St John’s Hospital during week nights.”

The resumption of overnight services comes three months after NHS Lothian recruited three new trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs), with the unit at St John’s now staffed by a team of consultants, nurses and a greater number of ANPs.