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Changes to the children's short stay assessment unit at St John's Hospital on Saturday

To ensure patient safety, the children's short stay assessment unit at St John's Hospital in Livingston will not open on Saturday 9th December 2017.

The decision was taken as a result of ongoing staffing and recruitment issues which mean there are not enough doctors available to cover overnight and weekends, coupled with late notification of clinician unavailability.

Parents are not being asked to do anything differently. If they require health care or advice on Saturday, they should take the normal steps of calling NHS 24 on 111. They will either be directed to an out-of-hours GP or referred on to the most appropriate place.

Children will still be assessed and treated in the Emergency Department and a paediatric consultant will be available on call 24/7.

If a child needs to be admitted to hospital, a transfer to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh will be arranged.

Maternity and neonatal services at the hospital are unaffected and normal service will resume on Sunday 10th December.

Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer of Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said: "The safety of our patients must be our top priority and for that reason the unit will not open on Saturday.

"Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reliably secure the levels of staffing required on Saturday to guarantee a safe service. This is the safest option for the children of West Lothian and normal service will resume on Sunday. NHS Lothian is working closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS 24 and local GPs to ensure the provision of a safe and reliable service.