Plans for East Lothian Community Hospital move forward

Plans for the new East Lothian Community Hospital continue to move forward.

The Outline Business Case, seen as the next major milestone for the project, will be submitted to the Scottish Government for approval this July.

This, after NHS Lothian’s Finance and Resources Committee took a decision on the range of surgical services in the new hospital.
A three month review gave detailed consideration to the surgical services which should be included within the new Hospital.
It acknowledged NHS Lothian’s strategic plans to build acute inpatients services around their four major acute hospitals and the need to be able to safely support services across the region now and in the future.

The work recognised that there is significant potential for surgical diagnostics and treatment to be provided differently without the need for general anaesthetic at the new Hospital.
It has therefore been agreed that the Outline Business Case will not include general anaesthetic services and these facilities will be concentrated on the four acute hospital sites.

Jim Crombie, Chief Officer, Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said: “There will be surgical services in the new hospital and demand for the type of procedures and treatments that will be carried out there are expected to increase significantly in the coming years. This will mean that many more East Lothian residents will no longer have to travel for treatment.

“Around 2,500 residents who currently travel out with East Lothian for endoscopy, minor surgery and day case procedures will benefit from new surgical diagnostics and treatment facilities that will be created as part of the new hospital.

“Whilst we understand that some people will be unhappy by this decision, our long term plans, developed with public involvement, are to have general anaesthetic procedures which may require an inpatient stay carried out on our four acute hospital sites. This will ensure greater safety and productivity, as these larger hospitals have the flexibility to mange day-to-day changes in demand and factors such as staff availability.”

The Committee also approved plans to install modular wards on the Herdmanflat Hospital site which will allow for the construction of the new hospital to start in early 2017.

The temporary wards will have room for up to 30 patients and are anticipated to be in place by November 2016.

David Small, Chief Officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “This is great news for the project. It means that we can temporarily move some patients off the Roodlands site in order for us to start work on the new hospital in the early part of next year.

“At the same time, 11 East Lothian patients who are currently being cared for in hospitals across Edinburgh and Midlothian will return to the county to be looked after closer to home.”

The next stage of the approvals process for the project will see the Outline Business Case submitted to the NHS Lothian board in July, then to the Scottish Government.

Planning approval was granted by East Lothian Council earlier this year and construction is anticipated to start on site in the early part of 2017.