Keeping the Edington Hospital open calls for systemic change

The Scottish Green Party candidate for North Berwick Coastal has called for systemic change to ensure the Edington hospital can re-open.

Writing in the East Lothian Courier, Jacq Cottrell explained:

All political parties are agreed that the Edington should reopen as soon as possible. However, the criteria set by NHS Lothian ‘gold command’ for reopening are such that is likely that in-patient palliative care and a minor injury service will never return to the hospital.

The criteria ignore the strong community voice that these services are valued. They also fail to consider the improved outcomes for patients, and efficiencies and job satisfaction for staff, that are achieved by continuity of care and relationship-based care. The criteria also disregard the difficulty of travelling between North Berwick and Haddington to visit relatives in the final days of their lives, or into Edinburgh for a minor injuries service.

Systemic change is needed to ensure decisions are taken more locally. The decision to temporarily close the Edington Cottage Hospital was taken without community consultation or involvement.

East Lothian Greens believe in genuine community empowerment, so that decisions are made by and for the community. We believe in inclusive decision-making to ensure that the voices of everyone – whether young or old, rich or poor, healthy or otherwise – are heard. All people should be able to have a proper say in decisions that will influence their lives and their local environment now and in the future.

The Integrated Joint Board, which makes decisions on health and social care, does not incorporate a single voting member from the medical teams responsible for primary care in the North Berwick ward, nor does it incorporate representation from the communities served. Community Councils are democratically elected to represent the people of East Lothian, yet far-reaching decisions are regularly taken without their participation.

Only if we change the way decisions are made can we prevent decisions like the Edington closure being taken over the heads of the local community.

East Lothian Greens are the only party that pledges to embed the voices of our local communities in health and social care decision-making structures by incorporating community councils and local primary healthcare teams in the Integration Joint Boards for health and social care.