Fiona Hyslop Calls for Commitment from West Lothian Integration Joint Board on the Future of West Lothian Community Hospitals

Local MSP for the Linlithgow Constituency has sent an urgent letter to the Chair of the West Lothian Integration Joint Board on the future of St Michael’s Hospital in Linlithgow and Tippethill House Hospital in Armadale, both sites have been recommended for closure by the IJB. The IJB is due to meet on Tuesday 8th August.

Fiona wrote to the Head of the West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership ahead of the IJB’s June meeting, this letter has gone unanswered. She has now written urgently to the Chair of the IJB to demand that the IJB listens to local people, takes West Lothian’s significant growing aging population into account and commits to working with NHS Lothian to secure the retention of both of these valued and valuable sites.

Fiona commented,

“I have written to the West Lothian Integration Joint Board to reiterate my serious concerns about the proposed closures of St Michael’s Hospital in Linlithgow and Tippethill House Hospital in Armadale.

“The Board must be aware of the opposition to close of these two facilities. I have urged my Constituents every step of the way to make their views known to their local Councillors and the Councillors who sit on the IJB.  As a result, due to significant local demand these Councillors have had no choice but to intervene to ensure further discussion and detail is taken into consideration when discussing this issue.

“With 80% of Scotland’s population growth due to take place in Lothians, we need to ensure that we have capacity for patients who need step down intermediary or end of life care. Maintaining existing West Lothian hospital provision would be more prudent financially for all across the Lothians than additional capital provision in the future.

“It is also concerning that the Board appears to be referring to ‘low referral’ numbers to St Michael’s Hospital as justification for its closure, when I understand from families of former patients at St Michael’s, that patients were not given the option to refer to St Michaels, and instead had to request it if they knew it existed. If this is the case, then it is hardly surprising that there are low referral rates to St Michael’s, when hospital staff were not including it as an option.

“As the local Constituency MSP I have been in constant contact with the IJB raising concerns about their plans and led a debate in Parliament expressing the concerns of my Constituents. The Board must now listen to the local communities who want and need these services, look at the significant population data and commit to working with NHS Lothian to ensure vital services at both hospital sites are retained.”