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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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