The First Minister has branded the closure of a children’s ward over staff shortages "unsatisfactory".
The ward at St John's Hospital in Livingston, West Lothian will close for three weeks during the summer. It will still assess children on week days but will have to transfer them to Edinburgh if they need to be admitted.
Alex Salmond waded into the issue when local MSP Neil Findlay raised the matter at First Minister’s Question at Holyrood on Thursday.
The Lothian MSP asked: "Will the First Minister personally intervene so we can get this appalling situation resolved?"
Mr Findlay also called for a meeting with Mr Salmond to discuss the way forward.
Trainee paediatric doctors were removed from the hospital in April, reducing the number of doctors available to provide out-of-hours cover. Shifts have been covered since then using the existing team and locum doctors.
The health board said it was not possible to secure enough staff for the three-week period. From July 9 the ward will open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm as an assessment and programmed investigation unit but will close at weekends.
Arrangements are being made for transferring children to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh if they need to be admitted following assessment or if they become ill during opening hours.
Mr Salmond told MSPs: "It is clearly an unsatisfactory situation that the member raises. It is to do with the difficulties in recruitment of paediatric staff. That recruitment process is under way, and also a new training exercise is under way.
"These actions are designed to ensure that we can avoid such things at St John's Hospital in the future."
Mr Salmond said Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon would meet with Mr Findlay and any representatives from the West Lothian community to give assurances that steps are being taken to resolve the situation.