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“Sick Kids Deserve Better”

“Sick Kids Deserve Better”

THE Scottish Conservatives have unveiled a banner today insisting that “Sick Kids Deserve Better” – at the site of the still-empty Royal Children’s Hospital in Edinburgh.

It comes on the 5th anniversary of Nicola Sturgeon’s election as First Minister, with the party using the general election campaign to focus on the SNP’s key failings on the NHS.

As well as the scandal of the empty Sick Kids hospital, the SNP has presided over a crisis in cancer care – as set out in yesterday’s damning cross party report – and created a waiting time guarantee that has never been met.

The Scottish Conservatives are today calling on SNP Ministers to use extra funding proposed by a future UK Conservative government to set out a long-term plan for Scotland’s NHS – rather than rely on “sticking plaster solutions”.

The party is also warning about the consequences of higher income taxes in Scotland which will deter medical staff from coming to Scotland from other parts of the UK.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“Five years ago, Nicola Sturgeon was elected First Minister. Five years on, the Scottish NHS is lurching from crisis to crisis.”

“Nothing symbolizes her government’s failures better than the new Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh: over-budget and still not delivered.”

“Meanwhile, higher taxes in Scotland don’t help the NHS – they just deter well qualified medical staff from staying or coming to Scotland.”

“Hundreds of millions of pounds of extra investment for the NHS in Scotland has been guaranteed by a future UK Conservative government. Rather than using this cash to buy yet more sticking plaster, it is time that SNP Ministers came up with a plan that ensures we have the staff to cope with rising demand, and buildings that patients can trust”.

“Two more referendums in 2020 under a Labour - SNP Government alliance will do nothing to solve the mounting problems facing our Scottish NHS.”    


Notes to editors

The 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) has never been met. For the quarter ending June 2019, 72.5 per cent of Inpatients and Day cases were treated within the 12-week TTG. This compares 74.5 per cent for the quarter ending June 2018. Last quarter’s stats were the worst on record. Sturgeon set the target in 2011 but it has never been met. (ISD, Stages of Treatment, 27 August 2019, link).

Revealed: Kids ward at St John’s could take 5 years to fully reopen

Revealed: Kids ward at St John’s could take 5 years to fully reopen

A children’s ward at a key central Scotland hospital could be five years away from reopening – despite SNP pledges that it would return to full service back in October.

The paediatric unit at St John’s hospital in Livingston – which is meant to be running 24/7 – reduced its hours in the summer of 2017 due to staff shortages.

Since then, the SNP government has repeatedly pledged action, and was meant to get the facility back to full operation in October, only for it to be put on ice again.

Now Scottish Conservative research has revealed it may not fully reopen until 2024.

Freedom of Information documents have shown the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health told NHS Lothian about the lengthy delays back in August, a month before health secretary Jeane Freeman admitted to MSPs the unit would not open on time.

Minutes from a health board meeting state “the commitment for the Paediatric Programme Board is to open the ward 24/7” but NHS Lothian “had been advised by the RCPCH that this would take 3-5 years to achieve”.

Since the downgrade in services, the unit has only opened from Monday-to-Thursday, and thousands of children have been instead forced to travel to the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“The SNP is failing sick children and their families right across the country.

“It’s bad enough that the flagship paediatric hospital in Edinburgh has been delayed for almost a decade on its watch, but now we learn there are major delays in West Lothian too.

“For more than two years a key children’s unit – which has historically served young patients on a 24/7 basis – has been downgraded.

“Jeane Freeman promised this would be sorted by October, only to admit that wasn’t happening, and now we learn a full reopening could be five years away.

“That’s a complete disgrace. The SNP has been in full charge of health in Scotland since 2007, and only has itself to blame for this mess.

“The nationalists have let down generations of ill youngsters, their families, and the dedicated staff who treat them.”



Notes to editors:


The Freedom of Information response from NHS Lothian warning of a five year delay to the full reopening of the St John’s children’s unit is attached to this press release (p3).


Health secretary Jeane Freeman admitted in September that her plans to reopen the unit by October had failed:

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