Star backs battle to save kids’ ward

October 24, 2011 | Charity Work

HOLLYWOOD star Gerard Butler has joined the fight to save a closure-threatened children’s ward at a hospital in his home town of Paisley.

The star of Law Abiding Citizen and 300 has warned health bosses that closing Ward 15 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital is a “blow that Paisley can do without”.

Gerard is currently in the US on a promotional tour, but he always keeps up to date with what’s going on in the town where he grew up.

Delighted campaigners hope the support of the big screen heartthrob can help them win their battle with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), which is currently reviewing the future of the service at the hospital.

He has sent the Kids Need Our Ward (KNOW) campaigners a signed photograph with a ‘Good Luck KNOW’ message, which may be auctioned to raise cash for the campaign.

Gerard said in a message to campaigners: “I am on the road at the moment, but I keep in touch with what’s going on at home through my mother.

“This proposed closure is shocking and I’m only too happy to lend what support I can to stop this.

“I know the good work that this ward and the PANDA [children’s services] Centre does, and various members of my family have reasons to be thankful to Ward 15.

“For the ward to close, and for the RAH to lose the skills and jobs that would go along with it, is a blow Paisley can do without.

“I am happy to support this campaign in its efforts in whatever way possible.”

Adding his weight to the campaign is Morton footballer Paul Di Giacomo, who said: “It is great to have people like Gerard Butler come aboard and he’s absolutely right.

“Knowing this first-class ward is there gives peace of mind to all Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and even Ayrshire families, mums, dads and grandparents.

“I’m sure every fan of Gerard’s and every Morton fan will join me and support this campaign. My son was treated at Ward 15 and I know the sense of relief that I felt knowing that he was in good hands in a local hospital.

“To close the doors on a ward like this – and not even use it for other patients – is criminal. Like Gerard, I commit myself to doing whatever I possibly can to help this important campaign.”

A NHSGGC spokeswoman declined to comment on the high-profile support for the campaign, but insisted that no final decision has been taken on the future of the ward.

She said: “We have extended the period of clinical review of the service in order to consider the issues raised and as part of our further pre-engagement work with patients and other key groups as we consider a case for change.

“Over the coming weeks we plan to undertake an option appraisal exercise and will consider the options identified as part of the pre-engagement process before concluding the review. Ongoing work includes discussions with the Scottish Ambulance Service and contact with RAH-related children’s health organisations.

“In respect of concerns from parents in Greenock and Oban, if the current review progresses to a formal consultation phase, NHSGGC will put in place an inclusive engagement process which ensures that those communities potentially affected by a change to the service are given opportunities to ask questions and express any concerns and viewpoints about what change could mean for them.

“No final decisions have been taken about whether to consult on a potential move of this service. If it is decided there is a case for change following this review, there will be full public consultation before any final decision is reached and, ultimately, ministerial approval.

“There will be no job losses in line with the national Scottish NHS policy which guarantees no compulsory redundancies.”

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