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This week, a freedom of information response that I obtained revealed that more than 1,000 youngsters have been taken by ambulance to the Royal hospital for sick children here in Edinburgh from St John’s hospital in Livingston because of the closure of the children’s unit there. In October, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport pledged to reinstate the 24/7 paediatric service at the hospital, three years after the service was cut. That promise has been broken. Families across West Lothian feel completely failed by the Scottish National Party Government. Parents have asked me to ask the First Minister this question. When will the 24/7 service return?
That service will return 24/7 when doing so is clinically safe. I would have thought that that was the priority for everyone.
Last month, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport met local parents, and NHS Lothian will continue to listen to suggestions on how to improve the service further and maximise out-patient activity.
Of course, the service is not closed, but children who are sick need to be cared for in the best possible place with the best-quality clinical care, which is exactly what the Government will continue to prioritise.