A SNP MSP has urged Nicola Sturgeon to reopen the St John’s Hospital children’s ward after highlighting a family’s three-hour ambulance wait to get treatment for their sick baby.
Angela Constance, the former Cabinet Secretary, said the family were left stranded in Edinburgh after the 10-month old patient was unable to be treated at the Livingston hospital.
The Almond Valley MSP asked Ms Sturgeon how her government would ensure that the hospital authorities “do absolutely everything and more to return our much loved and first class children’s ward” to a 24 hour service.
Mary and Kenneth Mackenzie took their son Kenzie to St John’s at 6.30 pm one evening after phoning NHS 24.
An ambulance was called at 6.50 pm, but did not arrive until 9.45 pm when it took the family to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
They arrived in Edinburgh at around 10.30 pm and were discharged at 11 pm. They then walked to the city centre to get the last bus to Livingstone. From there they had to get a taxi to their home in the rural village of Breich, in Ms Constance’s constituency.
Ms Constance said they finally made it home at 1.30 am the following morning.
She said this was “contrary to the commitments made by NHS Lothian to provide transport support to local families”.
Ms Constance added: “So First Minister given that baby Kenzie is one of 788 West Lothian children to be transferred from St John’s to the Sick Kids, how will your government ensure that NHS Lothian and crucially their paediatrics programme board do absolutely everything and more to return our much loved and first class children’s ward to a 24/7 service as soon as possible.”
Ms Sturgeon said the government would work closely with NHS Lothian to ensure that the ward is reopened as quickly as possible.
The First Minister said: “The acting chief executive of NHS Lothian assured Jeane Freeman on the twenty-eighth of August that all efforts are being made recruit medical staff and advanced nurse practitioners to reinstate the inpatient unit. The current situation, of course, is relating to ensuring patient safety and I don’t think any member of this parliament would responsibly suggest that patient should not be paramount. I will ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health to look into the specific case that Angela Constance has raised and keep her and other members with an interest updated on progress in getting the inpatient unit reopened as quickly as possible.”