WORK on a major community hospital is set to begin next year after a £75 million funding deal was approved by the Scottish Government.
The much-delayed East Lothian Community Hospital, which has been held up for five years, will provide orthopaedic services, stroke rehabilitation, enhanced imaging facilities and a social care day unit.
The Roodlands Hospital site in Haddington is considered a frontrunner to house the new clinic which could be up and running by the end of 2017.
It will see the new hospital incorporate services from Roodlands and the neighbouring Hermandflat Hospital, which is likely to close.
Other services not currently available in East Lothian will also be introduced in the future.
David Small, joint director of East Lothian health and social care partnership, said the funding agreement with Holyrood meant the community hospital had taken a “major step forward”.
“The new building will bring an overall increase in capacity from what is currently available locally and some services provided outside of East Lothian are likely to move back to the county once it’s completed,” he said.
Medical services at Herdmanflat – for adult mental health and people with learning disabilities – are expected to move to the new East Lothian Community Hospital.
GP practices, outpatient departments, carers of East Lothian and 14 day-surgery beds could form part of the new hospital when it opens in late 2017.
Additional services such as a pharmacy, spiritual services, a library, meeting rooms, as well as catering and laundry, are likely to be established on the same site.
Margaret Ingle, vice-chairman of Haddington and District Community Council, welcomed the funding deal.
She said: “We definitely need a bigger hospital.
“At the moment if you’re badly hurt then you’ve got to go to Edinburgh.
“If kids get hurt, they have to go to Sick Kids.
“This was meant to be completed years ago but it’s good news that it is starting to progress.”
Health Secretary Alex Neil announced the development at the same time as a further £17.9 million investment at the existing Monklands General Hospital, in North Lanarkshire, which will see the creation of a new ten-bed intensive care unit and the refurbishment of seven operating theatres.
Mr Neil said: “Having the best health facilities and services, in the right place, is rightly important to patients and that is why I am delighted that these two projects have been given the green light.
“This considerable investment reflects the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure that every patient in Scotland has access to world-class care in innovative health facilities.
“By developing purpose-built community services and ensuring our hospitals have state-of-the-art facilities, we will ensure that all patients get the highest possible standards of care across all of our NHS services.”