St John’s Hospital in Livingston is back to business as usual with children’s services available again 24/7.

The on-site team has been expanded with newly recruited consultants and locums as well as a small number of ward nursing staff.

There are more Advanced Paediatric Nurse Practitioners added to the staffing rota too.

Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian explained that a significant amount of work has been undertaken by NHS Lothian and the Paediatric Programme Board to facilitate this development. 

Dr Gillies said, “We recognise how important having access to a 24/7 service is for children and their families in West Lothian. NHS Lothian has always been fully committed to restoring the 24/7 service at St John’s, but our priority was to do this in a way which was both safe and sustainable.”

This change means that patients who require to remain in hospital over a weekend will be able to do so at St John’s, instead of routinely being transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. 

Dr Gillies added, “The availability of a 24/7 children’s service will make a welcome difference for people living in the West Lothian area, and the team are delighted to have reached this stage. When we received the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health review of the service in May 2020, it contained praise for our “considerable and impressive efforts” to restore the 24/7 service. I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and thank staff for their hard work and dedication in supporting and enabling this development to happen.”

Parents and families are not required to do anything differently as a result of this latest change and will still access care in the normal way, through NHS 24, their GP or the Emergency Department.

If children are very sick or require specialist intervention, they will continue to be admitted to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, in line with the normal protocols.