Freedom of Information request reveals Covid-19 capacity levels reducing at St John’s Hospital in Livingston

New information has revealed Covid-19 capacity levels at St John’s Hospital in Livingston are falling.

The Courier sent of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to NHS Lothian asking about bed capacity for coronavirus patients at the hospital.

We discovered that flexible capacity levels have allowed them to reduce the number of beds on the wards as infections fall in West Lothian.

As of the latest reading there were 62 beds available on the two Covid-19 wards at the hospital.

The FOI revealed that when Covid-19 first arrived in Scotland last year, a ward area was quickly mobilised at St John’s Hospital, with a starting capacity of 30 beds.

Almost immediately in March 2020, another 70 beds were mobilised, taking the capacity to 100 beds over two wards at St John’s Hospital.

The health board warned that they were nearing their 100 bed capacity in October last year but were able to create extra space at the hospital at the time, without having to create an extra ward or increase the overall capacity of 100.

The Courier understands that such capacities are entirely flexible and should there have been any surge in infections then St John’s would have had adequate beds to cover this.

The FOI revealed that as of February 25 there were 62 beds across all wards areas in St John’s Hospital.

Staffing levels have not changed too much at the hospital throughout the pandemic.

In March 2020, the Covid-19 Ward A had an establishment of 40 staff members and Ward B had 37 staff.

By February 2021 the establishment for Ward A was 42 and in Ward B there were 38 staff members.

The Courier sent another FOI to NHS Lothian last month and discovered the number of deaths and infections at St John’s Hospital.

In total 313 patients have tested positive for Covid-19 at the hospital, and a further 68 staff, with 67 coronavirus related deaths.

An NHS spokesperson said: “Bed capacity on any given day flexes up and down. Boards tend to use capacity flexibly between urgent and emergency cases and Covid cases.

“That is why we see some Boards exceeding their notional Covid capacity.

“Boards will also flex non-urgent and routine activity to make more space available.”

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