Hospital Services (Lothian)

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 6th March 2003.

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Photo of John Home Robertson John Home Robertson Labour 2:30 pm, 6th March 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans for further development of hospital services in the Lothians. (S1O-6582)

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

The first phase of the new Royal infirmary of Edinburgh opened on time and on budget in January last year. In May, all patient services will have transferred from the old Royal infirmary. In addition, a £2.6 million development to increase capacity in accident and emergency services at St John's hospital in Livingston will open later this year.

When I launched the white paper "Partnership for Care" last week, I emphasised our aim to have a national health service that delivers faster and better-quality health care locally. NHS Lothian's plans include a new hospital for Midlothian residents, proposals to develop the hospital services that are currently provided on the site at Roodlands hospital, in Haddington, and community treatment centres in Leith and Musselburgh.

Photo of John Home Robertson John Home Robertson Labour

I am particularly grateful for the minister's reply concerning Roodlands hospital, in Haddington. He will be aware that preliminary consultations about hospital services in East Lothian established a clear consensus for a comprehensive redevelopment of Roodlands hospital to include not only its existing services but relocated mental health services. Does he acknowledge that the efficient running of the new Edinburgh Royal infirmary will depend on the provision of a good range of services, including day surgery, at local hospitals? Can he give an indication of the time scale for the redevelopment of Roodlands hospital?

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

John Home Robertson is right. Increasing the capacity of community health services is a key feature of the white paper that was published last week, and it is beginning to feature in the plans of NHS Lothian. Some of that work is already under way—for example, in the new diagnostic services and community services that are being built at the Leith community treatment centre. I very much hope that the redevelopment of Roodlands hospital will not be far behind. The outline business case is being completed this month and will be considered by NHS Lothian next month. I hope that the developments at Roodlands hospital will take place as quickly as possible.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

Is the minister aware that ward 1 of Belhaven hospital, Dunbar, is currently being operated as a nursing home? Is that where some of the 53 residents of Cockenzie House are to be placed if their nursing home closes? If not, where else are those 53 people to go? Their families and friends are desperate to know.

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

There are complex issues to do with the care home sector. However, the public will acknowledge and appreciate the substantial contribution to resolving some of those issues that has been made by the Executive, which has amounted to £130 million over the past 18 months. I hope that the particular issue to which Christine Grahame refers is resolved. In relation to care home fees and the substantial investment that has been made in reducing delayed discharge, the Executive has made enormous progress over the past 18 months.