Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

St John's Hospital children's ward limited opening begins

St John's Hospital
Image caption The ward at St John's Hospital in Livingston is on limited opening hours for three weeks

Limited opening hours have begun at a children's ward at a West Lothian hospital.

The St John's hospital ward in Livingston will only open between 08:00 and 20:00 during weekdays and close at weekends for the next three weeks.

It will still assess patients on weekdays but transfer children to Edinburgh if they need to be admitted.

First Minister Alex Salmond and West Lothian Council have criticised the temporary closure.

NHS Lothian said it was due to staff shortages.

Dr David Farquharson, NHS Lothian medical director, said: "Reducing the service provided by the children's ward on a temporary basis has been a very difficult decision to make, but the risks of not taking this action are too great.

"I am confident that arrangements are in place to manage this temporary change to the service and that this is the safest option for patients."

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