No vote on local control for hospital

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A HOSPITAL facing major cutbacks should be put under local control, opposition councillors in West Lothian have claimed.

The children’s ward at Livingston’s St John’s Hospital is facing a permanent downgrade from next year, due to a shortage of trainees to support out-of-hours services.

NHS Lothian, backed by Scottish Government cash, is searching for consultants, speciality doctors and advanced nurse practitioners in a last-gasp drive to allow the ward to remain open in the long-term.

SNP group leader Peter Johnston wants the hospital to be overseen by the local community health and care partnership, which is jointly run by West Lothian Council and NHS Lothian.

He made the call at yesterday’s full council meeting, but councillors were not given the chance to vote on his motion.

He said: “This would not only strengthen our ability to develop better services but will also be a significant improvement for local democracy.

“No progress has been made – it’s a major disappointment. West Lothian Council have an open door but are refusing to knock on it.”