Calls to save Lothians cleft palate service

Luke Dalrymple with his sons Innis (middle) and Orran (right)
Luke Dalrymple with his sons Innis (middle) and Orran (right)

Cleft palate services are expected to be centralised in Glasgow despite thousands of people calling for the vital service to be saved in Lothian.

NHS bosses have recommended that surgical services for children with cleft lip and palate should be delivered from the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, forcing closure of the unit at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids.

The East of Scotland Cleft Group has branded the proposal “simplistic and short-sighted”, claiming the Edinburgh team has better outcomes than the site in Glasgow.

More than 100 babies are born in Scotland each year with a facial cleft, which occurs when parts of the face do not fuse together during pregnancy.

Children with the condition can require two or three surgeries before they reach the age of 10, as well as follow-up care in orthodontics and speech therapy.

A report from NHS National Specialist Services Committee said: “NSSC strongly supports the proposal to bring together three cleft surgeons on one site. This will achieve best results for education and training, and, through a single team, the best outcomes for everyone in Scotland.”

Luke Dalrymple (35) called for the preservation of the Sick Kids team who helped his young son Orran, when he was born with a bilateral cleft palate.

Luke, who lives near Pathhead, said: “They have just been ticking the boxes and jumping through hoops to make it look like they are concerned about what we think but in reality they have never listened to anything we say. I think this could have potentially seriously damaging results.”

The proposal will go to the NHS Scotland Board of Chief Executives this month.