THE Scottish Conservatives have raised concerns about a drop in the number of beds at one of central Scotland’s biggest hospitals.
The party highlighted figures, obtained from ISD Scotland under freedom-of-information legislation, showing the number of intensive care beds at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, West Lothian, has fallen from 25 in 2003 to 14 in 2016.
Over the same period, the number of non-intensive beds also dropped from 503 to 432.
The Tories said the figures flew in the face of promises by the SNP to retain the hospital’s status, including by then health secretary Nicola Sturgeon in 2007.
It follows news the children’s ward at the hospital is to close to inpatients over the summer as a result of staff shortages.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “Nicola Sturgeon gave her word to the people of West Lothian that her government was committed to St John’s.
“One closed children’s ward and a halving of intensive care beds later, that is clearly not the case. This is a deliberate downgrade.
“People in the area have long suspected that St John’s was being eroded from a respected acute hospital to little more than a day unit. In recent weeks, those fears have been confirmed.
“Everyone accepts cash is tight in the NHS but St John’s is a facility of critical importance.
“Instead of chipping away at the services it provides, the Scottish Government should be ensuring it can provide a top-class service to the huge swathes of central Scotland who rely on it.”