SNP accused of betrayal over closure of children’s ward

Shona Robison, Health Secretary
Shona Robison, Health Secretary
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The closure of a children’s ward was described as a “stab in the back” for families who campaigned against the move as political fury erupted over the decision.

Health Secretary Shona Robison agreed to transfer inpatient and day case paediatrics from Ward 15 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow (RHCG).

She described the plan put forward by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as being in the “best interests” of children.

However former Scottish Labour leader Keiza tweeted: “I was accused of scaremongering and creating false alarm when I stood up for this ward at #fmqs – turns out I was just telling the truth.”

West of Scotland Labour MSP Neil Bibby described the move as a “disgraceful political decision”.

He said: “The families and staff of the Children’s Ward and everyone who uses the RAH have been stabbed in the back by the SNP government.

“Thousands of local people have said loudly and clearly that they want the children’s ward to be protected.

“The SNP government had a choice – to listen to local families or to ignore them and they have chosen to completely ignore the views and wishes of local families.”

He added: “The Children’s Ward provides an excellent and lifeline service to thousands of local families. Before the last Scottish Parliament elections, Nicola Sturgeon denied there were even proposals to close the Children’s Ward. Less than two years on, it is now beyond doubt that the First Minister and the SNP lied to the people of Renfrewshire about the future of the Children’s Ward.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has welcomed the move, pointing to high-spec technology at RHCG.

The hospital has a dedicated Family Support and Information Service offering support for those accessing the site. It provides funding to cover transport, fuel or travel expenses.

Outpatient services and emergency care for those who self-refer will remain at RAH.

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, medical director, said: “The Royal Hospital for Children is one of the finest paediatric teaching hospitals in the UK and this decision will ensure that children from the Clyde area who require specialist hospital care will be able to receive their care in these state-of-the-art facilities.”

Ms Robison rejected proposals to close Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow and redesign rehabilitation services for the elderly in the northeast of the city.

The government has asked the health body to work with Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership and the local community to develop services in the East End of Glasgow before any relocation.

Ms Robison said: “The paediatric proposals that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have put forward, backed by overwhelming clinical support, have persuaded me that this new model of local paediatric services is in the best interests of children and will ensure that the majority of patient cases will continue to be seen and treated locally.”