30th Jun 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.....................

If that isn't possible, the fallback position is for a reduced service.

So what has changed? Bluntly, nothing.

The former Chair of NHS Lothian stood on the steps of St. John's in 2008 and told us that he would "kick arses" to make sure consultants were sent to St. John's if needed. What happened? The consultants told him what he could do. So, NHS Lothian ended up paying consultants exorbitant rates of pay to secure their services to keep things going.

What's to stop that happening again, because either the Board was lying in the years since, or they will face the same dilemma again.

NHS Lothian has also told us for several years that it cannot recruit staff. Despite all their efforts, there simply aren't the staff to recruit. Promised improvements have never been delivered in the past. So what hope for the future?

Of course we are grateful to the RCPCH for their report, but frankly, they too have dodged the bullet. They have effectively given everyone an out, including themselves.

NHS Lothian has lied its way through this debacle since 2009. That is one specialty in which it has excelled itself, if not much else. From the medical director to the Deanery, on whom we are now expected to rely, they have lied and covered up for 7 years. Just about the time it would have taken to train some excellent staff.

As for the Scottish Government, Fiona Hyslop MSP claims the RCPCH report is in keeping with the "detailed written submission" our local SNP MSPs submitted during the review.

What a pity their foresight wasn't translated into direct Government action. But then that would have meant the hapless pair who lied with their SNP colleagues claiming there was no threat, making some firm commitments.

Better that the RCPCH conduct a review that leaves NHS Lothian with just enough wriggle room to tell us again its not working, while sparing SNP blushes.

Not that they would have the good grace to admit they were ever wrong..................................

They'll just lie a little harder, blame everyone else, and tell us all again how stupid we are.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who tirelessly work to support and improve our NHS.

We owe a corresponding contempt to those inside and outside the health service whose career paths and egos ensure that the NHS will never be safe in their hands

Action to save St. John's Hospital Party, 19 Wilton Road, Edinburgh. EH16 5NX
Tel: 01501 228813 Mobile: 07917 076204
email: assjhparty@aol.com
Website: www.atssjh.org.uk
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