MSP accuses Health Secretary of ‘turning his back’ on the Edington

MSP accuses Health Secretary of ‘turning his back’ on the Edington

AN MSP has claimed that Health Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP is “turning his back” on North Berwick’s Edington Cottage Hospital.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, made the comment after the Health Secretary admitted that he was yet to meet East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) or discuss with members the reopening of inpatient services at the Edington.

The Edington was partially closed more than a year ago after an initial 12-week closure period, with six inpatient beds transferred to East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington, alongside the staff who supported them.

Mr Hoy, Conservative, submitted a written question to the Scottish Government, asking: “What ministerial meetings or discussions have been held with East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership about returning suspended services, including inpatient services, to the Edington Hospital in North Berwick?”

Mr Yousaf responded: “I have had regular discussions with the chief executive, NHS Lothian, but have not specifically met with the chief officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, to discuss the Edington Hospital in North Berwick.

“On January 17 (2022), I met with delegates from East Lothian and listened to their concerns about Edington Hospital and underlined that decisions about local provision are best made locally.

“The decision when to reopen Edington Hospital is to be made by NHS Lothian and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

“However, I expect any decision that is made to take into account the needs of the local population, and ensure an appropriate level of service is in place to meet those needs.”

Former East Lothian councillor Mr Hoy later said: “Humza Yousaf’s failure to engage with East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and respond to staffing issues across the health board underlines his Government’s lack of interest in supporting local healthcare facilities in East Lothian.

“He is turning his back on the Edington, as well as local patients and their families and local healthcare staff.

“Mr Yousaf defended the decision to close the Edington over a year ago without any consultation of local residents or hospital staff, despite significant cross-party opposition to the closure of the hospital in the local community. The Scottish Government and NHS Lothian now need to be honest with the community about whether they ever intend to reopen inpatient services at the hospital.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The relocation of beds from the Edington Hospital is a temporary measure due to staffing issues as a result of the pandemic, and the decision will be kept under review by NHS Lothian.

“We understand the concerns – however, this is an operational decision for NHS Lothian, who provided additional much-needed capacity to support East Lothian residents and allowed increased capacity in other local services.

“Whilst these are temporary measures, they are still in place due to ongoing pressures.”

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