Iain Gray, East Lothian’s MSP since 2007 and the Scottish Labour candidate for the seat again at this election, has submitted his petition about the county’s long-delayed community hospital to NHS Lothian.
Mr Gray wrote to the NHS Lothian Chief Executive to demand no more delays, no service cuts and no reduction in beds at the new hospital, and included the petition, signed by more than 1200 local residents,
Speaking after having submitted the petition, Iain Gray said:
“I have written to the Chief Executive of NHS Lothian making clear to him that we expect our new hospital, for which we have been waiting so long, to provide more services locally, not less, and including the petition as evidence of support for this view from county residents. I delivered the petition to NHS HQ at Waverley Gate in Edinburgh earlier this week.
“The SNP government have delayed this much needed and long promised health facility by ten years. When I was first elected MSP for East Lothian in 2007, the business case was all ready to go for a hospital to be built by traditional public funding, and completed by 2009. Then the SNP came to power, and East Lothian hospital was moved to their public/private partnership programme, and put to the back of the queue behind other projects.
“The planned completion date is now 2019, ten years late, and the business case which should have been agreed with ministers already has been further delayed until after the election.
Perhaps that is because the NHS board are now trying to cut back the plans to save money. At the moment Roodlands carries out day surgery under both local and general anaesthetic. Staff were told that it had been decided the new hospital would not do general anaesthesia, and so local people would instead have to travel to the infirmary or even further.
“Having provoked a negative reaction, not least from some of the surgeons involved, the board then backtracked to a “consultation”. But they do not need a consultation to know that local people do not want this reduction in service. Meanwhile they have also come up with the idea of cutting the number of beds planned for the new hospital by 20, a significant proportion of the beds in the plan.
“My thanks to everyone who signed my petition. I promise that if I am returned as MSP for East Lothian on May 5th, I will redouble my efforts to ensure we get the hospital we need and deserve, with no further delays.”