Glasgow & West Scotland

Paisley children's ward closure goes ahead

Royal Alexandra Hospital Image copyright Google

The health secretary has approved plans to close the children's ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

Shona Robison has agreed NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde can move in-patient and day care services for children to Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Children.

She said the move was "in the best interests of children".

But she blocked another proposal to close Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow until new services have been put in place in the east end of the city.

Ms Robison said: "My priority is to ensure that patient safety is maintained and this will remain at the heart of every decision on redesigning services.

"The paediatric proposals that NHS Greater Glasgow & 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.

"I know the service many families have received from Ward 15 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital has been highly valued, which is why I have approved these proposals on two conditions - that the health board must maintain and continue to improve community based paediatric services and maximise local provision, and that they must work directly with families from the Paisley area on specific, individual treatment/service access plans."

Deprived communities

Explaining her decision to block the closure of Lightburn Hospital, she added: "It is important that new services are in place before changes are made to the current provision, especially since the facility serves some of the most deprived communities in Glasgow."

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs claimed there was a pattern of services being downgraded.

He said: "All across Scotland children's services are being failed by the SNP.

"We've seen the stripping down of the paediatric unit at St John's, and a new Sick Kids in Edinburgh which is more than five years late.

"Now the nationalists have taken the decision to close this unit."

The Paisley decision has been criticised by West of Scotland Labour MSP Neil Bibby.

He said: "It has been clear from the very start that this decision has not been driven by clinical need but by the health board needing to plug a black-hole in their budget."

"This is about cuts and not about the interests of local children and the community."

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP added: "The news that inpatient and day case paediatrics will be transferred to Glasgow will come as a bitter blow to parents and campaigners who have fought valiantly to keep local facilities open."