NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) have voted to move specialist services from the Children’s Ward at the RAH in Paisley to Glasgow, effectively closing the ward.
Services that will continue to be provided on the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s include outpatient services, the specialist Community Paediatric service (PANDA), and emergency care via A&E.
NHSGGC Board members voted in favour by 20 votes to 7 to deliver paediatric in-patient care for children from the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC).
The result of the vote will now be sent to Shona Robison, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to sign off on the cuts.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has called on the Health Secretary to save key services at the area’s children’s ward.
Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that it is anticipated that around 8,006 episodes of care will transfer to the RHC while 12,063 will remain at the RAH.
The board members took into account views expressed during the 12 week consultation and acknowledged the range of clinical benefits of improving the acute and specialist services offered to children in the Clyde area before reaching their decision.
John Brown, chairman, NHSGGC, said: “Today we saw a detailed discussion on this service change following the conclusion of the consultation.
“Our staff carried out four consultation events and nine drop in sessions across the Clyde area to help patients and their families share their views with us and allow us to answer any questions they may have.
“The board has today recognised the overwhelming clinical support and decided that young patients from Clyde will now benefit from the same first class, state-of-the-art facilities as other children from across the West of Scotland who already attend the hospital.
“The RHC is one of the finest paediatric teaching hospitals in the UK and the largest in Scotland. The entire focus is around children and young people, with care provided in a child-friendly environment.”
It was also noted that four petitions, with approximately 6,600 signatures, were submitted on the service change to the board.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan who represents Renfrewshire Council on the regional health board – introduced a motion to keep the services at the much-loved ward, but his proposal was voted down.
He said: “This is a terrible decision by the health board which will have a real impact on many Renfrewshire families. It should be investing in vital local services, not closing them.
“Of course we recognise there is a great facility in Glasgow but the board needs to take account of the feelings of local people, who have been very clear that they want these services to be delivered at Ward 15.
“Around 6,600 people have signed petitions to express their support for Ward 15. They cannot be ignored.”
He added: “In 2015 Health Secretary Shona Robison said in the Scottish Parliament that there were no plans to close Ward 15 and she congratulated the staff on their great work.
“We are now hoping she will be true to her word and use her powers to prevent services at this incredibly popular children’s ward being taken away from our communities.”
Green MSP Ross Greer branded as “disappointing and unnecessary” the announcement that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have approved closure of the paediatrics ward (ward 15) at the Royal Alexandria Hospital. Greer had formally objected to the change, which means children will have to travel to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.
Greer said: “In the face of a strong local campaign against the closure the board have claimed that the decision will enhance the quality of care provided, despite there being no evidence to suggest that the standard of care at the RAH isn’t already to a high enough standard.
“It is clear that the community doesn’t want to see Ward 15 closed, and I’m concerned that if it is, the healthcare provision for children in a huge part of the West of Scotland will suffer. For families without a car this decision is also likely to make their journeys longer and more expensive.
“The consultation has left a lot to be desired and I can only conclude from this disappointing and unnecessary decision that the well organised local campaign has been completely disregarded. I support campaigners in lobbying government minister to scrap these plans, and keep this vital service in place.”
The decision taken by the board has to be approved by the health secretary as the closure of the services would amount to a ‘major service change’.