MSP given assurance over local paediatric care services

ASSURANCES have been given that families in the Borders will continue to receive a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, neonatal and paediatric service.

The assurance came during question time in the Scottish Parliament last Thursday where South of Scotland Labour MSP Claudia Beamish raised the issue with Health Secretary Alex Neil. Following the exchange, Ms Beamish has now written to him to seek further clarification on safeguards as the health board reorganises the service.

NHS Borders has brought forward the implementation of proposals that will shift the delivery of neonatal and paediatric services to a non-trainee grade workforce to August 2013. Commenting afterwards, Ms Beamish said Mr Neil’s comments will come as a relief to families across the Borders worried about the situation with paediatric services.

“NHS Borders has been working to address staffing issues with the services and has brought forward new arrangements to ensure that the service is sustainable,” she said.

“However, while this transition takes place, I am seeking clarification on what safeguards are in place to identify and address any issues which may arise.”

Back in November, TheSouthern highlighted efforts to minimise any potential impact on local children’s healthcare services due to the national shortage of specialist paediatric doctors.

The paediatric workforce is managed on a regional basis as part of a three health authority set-up.

Speaking this week, Dr Sheena MacDonald, NHS Borders medical director, said the local health authority has continued to invest in children’s and maternity services to provide safe, effective and high quality care.

“We have developed an innovative model to support the continuation of paediatric services during the day, as well as at night and weekends,” she said.