Health secretary Shona Robison has approved controversial plans to end children’s in-patient and day care services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
The services will now move out of town to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. Ward 15 will continue to offer out-patient appointments including the specialist Community Paediatric Service (PANDA).
A high-profile campaign from Renfrewshire Labour, alongside parents of current and former patients of ward 15 fought long and hard by gathering signatures on petitions in local town centres and at a variety of events during the Summer. They also organised marches and protests in a bid to reverse a decision by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde .
The Scottish Government confirmed that it agreed on the strict condition that local community paediatric care provision is maintained and continually improved. This will ensure that communities continue to access the majority of paediatric services locally, with more serious conditions treated at the Royal Hospital for Children, in line with the national clinical guidelines.
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. These provisions will ensure that there is a full understanding of what services and support will be available to local families and from where.
Neil Bibby, MSP for the West of Scotland, said: “Thousands of local people said loudly and clearly that they want to Children’s Ward at the RAH to be protected.
“The SNP Government had a choice – to listen to local families or to ignore them and they have chosen to completely ignore the views and wishes of local families.”
A date for the ward’s closure will be confirmed at a later date.