Act I - Misdirected Indignation

We accept that the Labour Party in Scotland like to whip up all kinds of "happenings" in our society into a vote-craving political frenzy. After all, with that political party showing signs of electoral difficulties since the days of the Iraq war and the economically disastrous PFI contracts, it is not overly surprising. But, vote-seeking activists knocking on doors attempting to cause ordinary people to be angry but uninformed is political game-playing at its most egregious.

Perhaps the Labour party still hold fast to the idea that “If You Teach Them To Be Angry at Something, Their Hearts and Minds will Follow”. If true, I would suggest that we need to be more cautious of those who tell us where to focus our anger. For today's angry doorstep message, it's the turn of the restructuring of children’s health service in Scotland.

Parking our anger at the very thought of some busybody or other "meddling" in our NHS for just a moment, let's think about those local areas Labour activists suggest will suffer from a lack of access to children's health care services - specifically the closure of the children's ward at the Royal Alexandria Hospital (RAH) in Paisley and what that closure means for the wider community and its children's overall wellbeing.

Back in 2006, the Labour administration in Holyrood introduced the Emergency Care Framework for Children and Young People. This important and meaningful document has served as the blueprint for Scottish paediatric care provision since its publication. Although it has been the basis of informed decision-making in the practical considerations that surround the RAH Children's Ward closure, the Labour Party seems to have forgotten the existence of their previous accomplishment.

Since the decision to close the children's ward at the RAH was based on a Labour Party commissioned framework, it is obvious then that the party activists are shouting "Disaster! Crisis! Ward Closure!" to evoke feelings of primitive anger in parents and guardians solely for votes at the next election. The faux outrage is been promulgated regardless of any and all pragmatic evaluations of the future wellbeing of our children to which the Labour Party had previously given its assent.

Act II - The Pragmatic Evaluations

Most of our local hospitals are old and, like many of their patients, are in constant need of repair. However, they do have Accident and Emergency departments which will continue to provide paediatric care to sick children and stabilise any of those children who arrive in a particularly critical condition. From an adult point of view, it is comforting to know that children will be well cared for locally. But, the perception of hospitals by children is a different thing entirely. For children, hospitals are scary places.

At the Royal Hospital For Children in Glasgow, sick kids will now be looked after and their families supported within a child-friendly environment. The health benefits being in such an environment is substantial although unquantifiable.

That's only one side of the coin. There are also safety issues. Sick kids in a local hospital need a host of highly trained paediatric staff to provide exceptional health services. Normally in local hospitals there are one or maybe two professionals from each required health discipline available to provide the level of expertise which we all demand for our children. In these local hospitals, it is likely that no trained paediatric staff will be available during the out of hour periods.

In the Royal Hospital For Children, through centralisation of expertise, sick children will have a full compliment of paediatric staff on duty looking after them every moment of the the day and night.

However, centralisation of specialist services can be easily presented by political doorstep activists as cuts, and they know very well that public opinion is always opposed to cuts in services. We would all love to live in the utopian world where state-of-the-art health facilities, full of highly skilled specialist staff, are a few minutes away. But we have to deal in reality not fantasy. The reality is that all these highly skilled specialist staff and equipment are an expensive commodity. And another important characteristic of our reality is that the Scottish budget is fixed and at the mercy of Westminster funding via the Barnett formula.

Of course, Scottish NHS spending is prioritised by the Scottish Government and is presently at record levels. But, not having all the normal economic levers to find more revenue, from all kinds of indirect taxation etc, the money to keep our nation's health service the best in the United Kingdom has to be diverted from other services.

Act III - The Golden Goose and the Golden Egg

It has taken some time to put the centralisation of children's health care into existence. The Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board has reassured the Scottish Government and convinced it to accept the results of an extensive consultation free from any calculated political expediency. Accepting the suggestion and implementing a ward closure may lose votes or even party members. But is that abstract notion more important than a child’s health? For Shona Robison, Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party, it seems not.

Nevertheless, with the new centralised facility in Glasgow, there will be patient and family transportation issues. Consequently, our concern should be directed towards ensuring that no family member but for the want of a tuppenny bus ride is left sitting at home worrying about their hospitalised child.

There's our focus of concern. Ensure that every immediate family member of a child patient has the correct transportation to and from the new Children's Hospital. Don't express anger at a hospital ward being closed, as the Labour activists on your doorstep would like, without first thinking of the whys and wherefores.

Therein denies us all the golden opportunity of having our children cared for as emergency cases or as sick paediatric inpatients at a brand new dedicated children's hospital which is fully staffed with specialised paediatric health care professionals 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.