St John’s Hospital (Paediatric Services)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th September 2018.

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Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

My first point to make on that is that the college in question is the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and it, rather than me—or, with the greatest of respect, Mr Cole-Hamilton—is the clinical expert. The member set out what the college’s 2016 report said. The health board asked the college to come back in 2017, and at that point the college said that a 24/7 model was still the right model for St John’s and West Lothian. However, we have made it clear to the health board that it needs to have a multidisciplinary and multiskilled team to deliver that 24/7 model. I set out how far the board has got on that so far and where it will get to by January, and I said that I will report to Parliament at that time.

Therefore, my timescale is shorter than three to five years, and I believe that the model that we are now progressing, which is clinically safe and which will provide the right care for children in the right place, is shorter than three to five years. However, as I said to Mr Sarwar, I am not prepared to give a target date at this point. The right thing for me to do is to ensure that the milestones are met and that the steps are taken. As I have said, I will come back and report to the Parliament in January on where we have got to. By my calculation, that is four months away; I think that every four months is relatively frequent, so I hope that Mr Cole-Hamilton is satisfied with that.