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1st July 2016.
And now the hyperbole is over, what next?

If this really was the end of a job well done, we'd be singing from the rooftops. Although this is a victory, this situation will need to be closely monitored.

The wording of the report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health does not give any guarantees. In fact, it offers very little that is new.

The options appraisal is simply that: an appraisal. NHS Lothian's commitment is to give us the best possible service under option 1, but.....................

Read more here

11th April 2016.

Whose truth shall we vote for?


Purdah-that period of inertia in public life prior to an election-is inevitably punctuated by posturing and oratory, which, by any stretch of the imagination is far removed from the truth. Often story-telling (more accurately, lying like Billy-oh) is far more politically productive, if morally repugnant, than being open and honest with the electorate. It's called spin.

But do we really want to hear the truth at election time? Or any other time for that matter? I'm reminded of that Hollywood representation of military justice, "A Few Good Men". Jack Nicholson's Colonel Jessep is asked in the witness box for the truth...

Read more here

5th April 2016.

Risky business-pity it's our health at stake.

Andrew Whitaker's piece in the EEN yesterday highlights the potential for further acute bed cuts. What type of idiots are running the NHS? They are in the mess they are because of the cuts in beds, not in spite of them. Don't these people get that?

And, to add to their woes, tomorrow's Board papers highlight that there isn't just a "risk" of bed cuts: the risk is "very high". In other words, barring a miracle, it will happen.

The solution to this according to Jim Crombie is that people need to be treated at home, or in "homely settings". A homely setting? What is that supposed to mean?..

Read more here

20th. March 2016.


The SNP's Rank Hypocrisy At St. John's.


Neil Findlay MSP has hit the nail on the head again. Jim Crombie is a hapless disaster. He has mismanaged the waiting lists he was brought in to deal with. He has lied in the media about mixed bays and more. Now he's deeply involved in the children's ward crisis engulfing NHS Lothian.

God help the children.

His incompetence and lies are one thing, but it is those of our two constituency MSPs we turn our attention to. Fiona Hyslop has previously ridiculed those who said there was a threat. Remember when she and Ms. Constance posed outside St. John's with their kids saying there was no threat? Liars both, and they knew it. Remember when Councillor Peter Johnston and a traitor in our midst tried to claim there was no threat to the service? Liars both, and they knew it...

Read more here

20th March 2016.

NHS 'insulting intelligence of West Lothian residents'…/nhs-insulting-intelligence-w…

8th. March 2016.


NHS Lothian – chaos and confusion……or worse?


The lies and deceit about the children’s ward at St. John’s grow by the day. There is clear evidence exposed by Neil Findlay MSP, seemingly the only MSP working for his West Lothian constituents, of NHS Lothian’s desire to postpone the report by the Royal College of Paediatrics until after the election. But we are increasingly concerned by the failure of our local constituency MSP’s – Angela Constance and Fiona Hyslop – to make any MEANINGFUL statement about the future of this vital part of the hospital.

An election, after all, is the time when local politicians show what they are about! We would ask our two local-not vocal-MSP’s to state categorically that the children’s ward will remain a 24/7 service for the whole of the life of the next parliament.

This is what “localism” means.

We promised to offer you “Baywatch.” ...
Read more in our latest newsletter here

7th. March 2016.

Bumped off (the list) with no clinical input.

Recent media coverage of patients with shorter waits than potential waiting time guarantee 'breachers' being bumped off waiting lists highlighted a significant concern: was there any clinical risk assessment?

We now have an answer. NHS Lothian has said in relation to an FOI request that "as it is not possible to identify those cases that have been rescheduled as a result of booking those who have waited longer, without undertaking the process detailed above. [which they've told us they won't do on grounds of expense] It is not possible to consider whether clinical risk has been assessed. Even if the full process was undertaken whether an assessment was made is not captured in structured fields in Trak."

In other words, they haven't a clue how often it is happening, so they don't know if there is any clinical risk assessment.

Forgive us, but this is brilliant, just bloody brilliant!

The Board of NHS Lothian needs to waken up and smell the coffee.

And if they won't, they should be next to be bumped off by the Scottish Government!


6th. March 2016.

Cancellation Horror.

News reaches us from one of our supporters about an experience at the day surgery unit at St. John's.

Last week they were scheduled to have an operation they had been desperately waiting on. Working in a small family business meant arranging staff for the 6-18 week recovery period starting from the day of surgery.

Not to mention the stress and worry of surgery, where even with a fair wind the outcomes could mean the loss or significantly impaired use of a key limb function.

What made this doubly distressing for our supporter was the discovery only two days before of a potentially life-threatening condition for which urgent investigatory examination and tests had been organised by the GP.

We have no doubt there might be genuine reasons why this, and reportedly other operations on the day had to be cancelled. The question must be although genuine, were they avoidable or acceptable reasons?

This type of chaos within our heath service is generally not the fault of clinicians, and in cases such as this, certainly not the patient's.

It is just another appalling symptom of the dire state of the NHS in Lothian.


5th. March 2016.

Freedom of information - Paediatric review

The discovery of the controversial Board correspondence on paediatrics at St. John's by Neil Findlay MSP lays bare the attitude of contempt and derision towards the public they are supposed to serve.

The Board chairman and Chief Executive have no respect for the public.

We have published the papers, also obtained by us through FOI on this website. The link is below.

It makes difficult reading, but should leave people in no doubt about what has gone on.

Read FOI request on Paediatric review and NHS response here

5th. March 2016.

Standard Coping Mechanism: Blame the Opposition!

There is no doubt the NHS in Scotland is facing huge challenges. Budgets are under pressure, and staffing and resource issues give grave cause for concern...

More here

5th. March 2016.

Health bosses draw up NHS centralisation plans as voters 'kept in dark' about changes

HEALTH bosses have been ordered to draw up plans to provide thousands of operations to patients from outside their normal NHS catchment areas as part of apparent moves towards centralisation, it has emerged.

NHS Lothian was told to find ways to absorb a predicted rise in procedures for patients living in the Borders and most of Fife, according to a report.

The document, released under Freedom of Information laws, also reveals large health boards across Scotland were told to devise similar strategies. It states the ability to meet waiting times targets nationally is “challenged” with the situation to deteriorate further.

More here at

23rd. February 2016.


Following on from the article below, it is a rank disgrace in the face of the subsequent articles of blatant incompetence, that anyone in Mr. Robertson’s position should suggest shutting anything, apart from their mouths...



More here

23rd. February, 2016

Dementia sufferers in West Lothian forced to wait up to 14 months to receive help from NHS Lothian


Dementia sufferers in West Lothian waited up to 14 months to receive help from NHS Lothian last year.

A Freedom of Information request has found that after diagnosis, patients suffered a 380-day delay before being assigned a support worker.

Under Scottish Government guidelines, every dementia patient is entitled to a year’s “guaranteed” post diagnosis support...

More at Daily Record here

23rd. February, 2016

NHS leader: Scotland must plan to shut some hospitals or risk firefighting


SCOTLAND must plan to shut some accident and emergency departments or risk "firefighting" as services struggle to survive, a leading NHS figure has warned.

Andrew Robertson, the former chair of the UK's largest health authority, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, has called on politicians to take potentially unpopular decisions to reduce the number of major hospitals and invest in better care in the community...

More at HeraldScotland here

23rd. February, 2016

NHS paid lawyers £435,000 to get 'incorrect' advice over botched IT project


A LEGAL firm was paid almost £500,000 after health chiefs signed a contract blamed for costing taxpayers tens of millions of pounds.

International legal firm Pinsent Masons racked up fees of £435,397 while working on behalf on NHS 24 to help commission a new state-of-the-art IT system known as its 'Futures Programme'.

Former NHS 24 chief executive John Turner last month accused the lawyers of allowing him to agree to a contract with technology firm Capgemini that later transpired had key omissions..

More at HeraldScotland here

20th. February, 2016

Keeping Healthcare Local: But not where it counts.


Before anyone starts jumping up and down about what we're going to say, we accept that practice makes perfect. Specialist treatment centres where medics work repeatedly within their specialty deliver better results. That's been known since the Bristol paediatric heart surgery scandal decades ago....




Read more here

Patients to travel further for operations as SNP ditches opposition to NHS centralisation

PATIENTS will have to travel further for major operations as plans for a radical overhaul of health services were unveiled.

A new NHS blueprint, written by top doctors and endorsed by health secretary Shona Robison, called for "significant change" and warned of the need to make "rapid progress" if standards are to be maintained...

Herald Scotland

19th. February 2016.

We ALL Have a Part to Play.


Parents take note. As we campaign to protect local children's services, we can never afford to lose sight of the partnership between health services and parenting.

We want the best health services for our children, but our rights to demand it are significantly diminished is we fail as parents and grandparents to ensure our children eat well and stay as healthy as we can make them.

Diabetes is a silent killer. It's symptoms are all too often hidden, and it's too late by the time they start to show. There is no clinical doubt whatsoever that diet and being overweight are significant contributors to the disease.

It takes no more work or expense to provide healthy meals than unhealthy ones. And just a little bit of exercise makes all the difference.

As a diabetic of over 20 years, this is a personal plea: do not sentence your kids to a life of ill-health, constant medication, amputations, and in all likelihood, a dramatically shortened life.

Help is out there. If you want it, let us know and we can direct you to specialists who will help.



MORE than one in seven of Lothian five-year-olds is clinically obese or overweight when they start school, new figures have revealed. Official statistics for the 2014-15 school year show 14.8 per cent of primary one pupils were classed as overweight or obese, with higher rates among boys than girls...

Edinburgh News

19th. February 2016.

Children's Ward Update


Neil Findlay MSP has organised two public meetings to discuss the ongoing threat to our children's ward. They will both be held in Howden Park Centre, Livingston. The first is on 7th. March at 6.30pm, and the second on 9th. March at 2.00pm.

Make your feelings known to NHS Lothian that any downgrade of our children's services at St. John's is JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Let's send a message to NHS Lothian's Board and the Scottish Government that if they are unwilling to protect OUR services at St. John's, then they should get out and let in people who will.

This is a direct THREAT to you and YOUR CHILDREN. People like the Chair of NSH Lothian, Brian Houston, who showed how much he cares by saying he's "not bothered about over 400 emails, and telling his Chief Executive not to pay them "any heed", should be AXED now. And so should any the rest of the gutless wonders on NHS Lothian Board who follow his lead.

The little cabal at NHS Lothian, including George Walker and Kay Blair who advocated delaying the current review by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, are another two who should get back to their day jobs.

And if Shona Robison refuses to act, she too should be sent packing.

This will likely be the last chance YOU have to make YOUR voice heard. Neil Findlay is alone among our current MSPs who is doing anything proactive. HE should have your support.

We hope to see some old faces on the day!



14th February 2016


We have known for several years that NHS Lothian is indifferent to public opinion. We know that they organize focus groups to allegedly become ”informed” about the views of the public. But none of us have any idea who is on these groups and how they are in any way representative of our views.

When were YOU last asked if you would like to join a focus group? When were YOU last asked for your opinion about services at St. John’s?

However, the Chairman of NHS Lothian, Brian Houston, has now ADMITTED that he doesn’t care about the views of the West Lothian public!

In a candid email to one of his cronies on the Health Board referring to the public consultation exercise about the downgrading of the children’s ward he said, “I’m not bothered, and I don’t think we should pay them any heed.”

This means that NHS Lothian has no interest in consulting the public. Our views are to be ignored. AGAIN!


Read the full Newsletter here


10th. February, 2016.

Mealy mouthed Houston indeed. "Unfortunate"? Yes, that he got caught!


Brian Houston has apologised at a Board meeting of NHS Lothian. It appears as a result of an unfortunate oversight, NHS Lothian can't provide a record of the apology. It'll be interesting to see what the minute of the Board meeting shows when it's published.

What's really interesting about the timing of his apology is this: Neil Findlay MSP made his revelations about Houston's "unfortunate" comments in mid-January. He didn't apologise publicly. Mr. Findlay called on him to resign, eliciting the seemingly grudging "unfortunate" explanation.

In the weeks that followed he offered no apology. The honourable course of action would have been to immediately apologise to the senders of the emails, Mr. Findlay and the public generally. But he didn't.

What he did do was apologise last Wednesday morning-minutes after we circulated an email to all board members that we had reported Mr. Houston to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

In other words, he realised the game was up. He will no doubt be hoping the Commissioner will take note of the public apology as an act of contrition and not investigate further.

Houston and his overpaid lackies will no doubt claim this was always his intended course of action, and he publicly apologised at the first appropriate opportunity. Except he didn't. And NHS Lothian appear to have no record that he has.

This is a cynical attempt to avoid a bullet. With a bit of luck, Houston's disgraceful cock-up has presented a big enough target that he cannot avoid censure at the very least.

Mealy-mouthed apology? Certainly. And singularly disingenuous given it forced from him.


NHS chief’s emails apology branded ‘mealy-mouthed’


Read THE EVENING NEWS article here



6th. February, 2016.

Houston reported to Commissioner for Ethical Standards.

We have reported the chair of NHS Lothian Board, Brian Houston to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

His outrageous and utterly disrespectful comments about 400 members of the public-including our members-who wrote to him with concerns over the future of the children's ward at St. John's Hospital merited nothing less.

We did consider reporting him to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison MSP, but frankly, that would have been a wasted exercise. She has had plenty of time to intervene and have him apologise. She's quick enough to intervene when political expediency dictates, like the forthcoming election...


Read more here


2nd. February 2016

An MSP stated a vital report into the future of paediatric services in Livingston was delayed by NHS Lothian and not the Scottish Government

The children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, which could face closure or a reduction in hours, is currently at the centre of a political row.

Following revelations concerning certain e-mails, opposition parties and other organisations are accusing the SNP of forcing health bosses to delay the publication of the review into the matter until after the May elections.

However, Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop stated this week the decision to wait until June, not March, to make the report public was taken by NHS Lothian and the independent review team...


Read the full LINLITHGOW GAZETTE story here

29th. January 2016

Nicola Sturgeon sidesteps plea over future of children's ward

Nicola Sturgeon was told the NHS is at "breaking point" as she refused to answer Labour demands to give a "100% guarantee" to retain several local services.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale called on the First Minister to promise the children's ward at St John's Hospital in Livingston will not be axed following a review.

Ms Dugdale also pressed the SNP leader at First Minister's Questions on the future of other local services, as she revealed that stress last year cost the health service 287,000 staff days, a rise of 21% on two years ago.

The Labour leader, an MSP for the Lothian region, told Ms Sturgeon: "This really matters because it puts vital NHS services facing cuts under even more pressure.

"One of those services is the children's ward at St John's Hospital in Livingston, which is currently under review and potentially under threat of closure.

"The First Minister will tell us it is a decision for the health board, but she has over-ruled officials before and she should do so again now.

"My constituents would like a simple yes or no answer to this question - can the First Minister confirm once and for all she will not allow the children's ward at St John's to be either closed or downgraded?" ...


Read the full HERALD SCOTLAND story here

28th. January 2016

Constance cockup or Tim's tantrum

Never far from controversy in her own field of expertise-education, allegedly-Angela Constance has been rebuked by the Chief Executive of NHS Lothian. Problem is, she has a point. Or maybe several...


Read the full HERALD SCOTLAND story here



January 2016.













Scandal follows scandal follows scandal

Scottish Government is accused of putting pre-election pressure on NHS Lothian into report on St John's Hospital.

MINISTERS have been accused of putting the SNP's election hopes ahead of the NHS after it emerged that they were accused of lobbying health chiefs to delay a report that could signal the downgrade of a popular children's ward.


Read the full HERALD SCOTLAND story here


26th. January 2016

Stop this cover up – NOW !!!

A few weeks ago we brought to your attention that NHS Lothian was deliberately withholding the report on the fate of our children’s ward at St. John’s until after the election in May. We expected a few responses but what started as a trickle is now a flood! Patients, staff, even senior managers, are contacting us through our website and on Facebook. Examples of mismanagement, bullying, and manipulation of statistics dominate; the almost daily mixing of men and women in admissions unit bays at St. John’s-not just ONE example as claimed by Mr. Crombie-has also been brought to our attention.

We simply don’t know what to present to you next!

The mismanagement of our local health service now attracts UK wide attention, with weekly articles in national newspapers-and weekly apologies from a beleaguered NHS Lothian!!

We would encourage you in the strictest confidence and with total anonymity to contact us about ANYTHING that is happening at St. John’s which you think is harming patient care.

The suppression of the report into the children’s ward is another scandal which has engulfed the top echelons of NHS Lothian including its medical director, Dr. Farquharson.  Their assertions that the report could not be done in time for the next election are dubious at best. Mr. Crombie, who, amongst other things, is responsible for a multimillion pound waiting list disaster, asserted that the report would be delayed because the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health – was unable to provide an “engaging public expert” sic. But what of the months of delay in instructing the review? Has Mr. Crombie deliberately misled the public and the politicians who serve us? We’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions...

Read the full story in our latest Newsletter here

20th. January 2016.

NHS Lothian's scandals: more to come?!

Following recent media coverage of the latest scandals to engulf NHS Lothian, we have been inundated with people who want to fill in the gaps in the stories. They want to tell us what is really going on in their part of the health service in Scotland.

Lots of people have contacted us : patients, staff, administrators - and some at pretty surprising and unusual levels. Waverley Gate, we hear you!

But Action to Save St. John's Hospital would like to hear from YOU too! If you have had your appointment bumped. If you have been forced into a mixed sex bay. If you are concerned for your kids if the children's ward is downgraded, as seems likely. Or simply if you just want to tell us your story and support OUR local hospital.


Read more here


17th. January 2016.

Paediatrics update from the Linlithgow Gazette…/kids-ward-should-not-b…


16th January 2016



We said that we would bring you more revelations from the health board that plays fast and loose with our lives. Now we have evidence of yet another waiting times scandal. This cost the last Chief Executive his job. Perhaps Mr. Davison should look at his position.

It’s clear from the articles in the Press over the last few days in the Sunday Times, Express, etc., ( that NHS Lothian will do everything it can to fiddle its waiting time figures. Despite tens of millions of pounds being given to the Board by the Scottish Government, waiting lists are going up! Much of the money is going straight to the private sector, so to prevent further embarrassment, the Board has discovered a new fiddle.

They are cancelling clinic appointments at St. John’s, and the cancelled appointments are then used for Edinburgh patients! These serious decisions to cancel appointments for West Lothian patients should be made by doctors who can judge clinical need. Not in NHS Lothian. These life or death decisions are apparently being made by ADMINISTRATORS who have little or no clinical knowledge whatsoever!! This is stupidity of epic proportions. Only the waiting times “czar,” Jim Crombie, and his team could think of something so despicably appalling, purely to help improve the waiting times figures which, from NHS Lothian, are now completely meaningless...

Read the full story in our latest Newsletter here

15th January 2016

Seriously ill Scots’ surgery put off so health board could meet targets

A HEALTH board ­cancelled seriously ill patients’ appointments to avoid missing strict Scottish Government waiting time targets, it was revealed yesterday.

NHS Lothian has been accused of “playing games” with the health of patients after a senior executive apologised to people who were affected.

Officials at the authority said sorry after admitting they changed appointments of some patients in favour of others who were closer to breaking waiting time targets.

Jim Crombie, chief officer of acute services at NHS Lothian, said such decisions were “never taken lightly” and insisted that the health board aimed to ensure patients receive “swift and effective care”. He added: “We deny any suggestion that patients or waiting lists are being managed inappropriately.”

Read the full article in the Express here

12th January 2016

Sunday Times Exclusive.

10th. January 2016.


The attached article says everything we need to know about NHS Lothian.

The question is, what is the Scottish Government going to do about it?

And as for Jackson Carlaw, how smug. If you've known about it for so long, what the hell have you been doing about it?

Why is it left again to campaigners to get the story out through national newspapers?

We will be following this up shortly with another newsletter. There are further revelations to follow in the coming weeks.

As we always say, you read it here first.


Excerpt from Sunday Times 10th January 2016

A SCOTTISH health board has cancelled appointments of seriously ill patients awaiting medical treatment in favour of others who were closer to breaking strict waiting- time targets.

On Friday, an executive at NHS Lothian apologised to affected patients and insisted that decisions to reschedule appointments were “never taken lightly”.

Jim Crombie, chief officer of acute services at NHS Lothian, insisted that the health board aims to ensure patients receive “swift and effective care”, adding: “We deny any suggestion that patients or waiting lists are being managed inappropriately. ”

Yesterday, opposition politicians criticised the health board’s alleged manipulation of waiting-times figures as “nothing new”.

Under Scottish government efforts to ensure prompt healthcare delivery, patients should wait no more than 12 weeks for planned treatment but the latest disclosure raises fresh concerns that patients’ lives are potentially being placed at risk to meet targets.





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FOI request on Paediatric review and NHS response