Work on the new £70m East Lothian Community Hospital will start in October after financial contracts were signed with the Scottish Government.
The highly anticipated facility, which is being developed jointly by NHS Lothian and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, will provide a fit-for-purpose facility to deliver high quality healthcare for the county.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Today is a very exciting milestone in the development of the new East Lothian Community Hospital. It has taken many years of careful planning to get to this point, but I am delighted to be able to announce today that construction work will start in a few weeks on this £70 million project.
“The new hospital will be a significant addition to the local healthcare facilities available in East Lothian – bringing services back to the area and helping more patients get treatment closer to home. I look forward to work getting underway and seeing this fantastic new facility become a reality.”
The first phase of works will see the outpatient department and combined endoscopy/surgery suite developed at the current Roodlands Hospital site.
David Small, Chief Officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “I am thrilled that we have reached this point and I’m delighted to say that construction of the new hospital will soon start.
“The community hospital will make a huge difference to how and where people in the county are treated. Services which are currently being delivered in ageing facilities at Roodlands and Herdmanflat can look forward to being transformed within the new building. It will mean closer and more joined up working between staff and services and will bring an improved experience for all of our patients.”
Councillor Donald Grant, Chair, East Lothian Integration Joint Board (IJB), said: “This is a very exciting day for healthcare in East Lothian. It has been a long process and we have done a lot of consultation along the way, which is significant when delivering a community asset of this importance.
“It will make a huge difference to the lives of many people in East Lothian, enabling high quality care closer to home and family in state-of-the-art surroundings. It will play a key role in helping the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership to deliver its vision of best health, best care and best value for our communities.”
Richard Park, Operations Director, Hub South Scotland Ltd, said: “This is Hub South East’s largest revenue funded project to date and we are proud to have worked in partnership with NHS Lothian for over five years – from the development of the masterplan and clinical model, through to the imminent construction of the new community hospital.
“It’s been a true collaborative effort to reach this exciting milestone and I’m delighted that we now have everything in place to enable our contractor, Morrison Construction, to start on site next month.
“We look forward to ensuring that the project not only creates a fantastic new healthcare facility for East Lothian, but that we deliver a range of community benefits for local people during the build, from apprenticeships to supporting local businesses.”
In order to allow for works to start on the community hospital, a number of buildings which currently occupy the site will need to be demolished.
As a result, patients from East Fortune House at Roodlands will be relocated to Crookston Care Home in Tranent. The NHS floor at Crookston Care Home currently provides ‘step down’ care for East Lothian patients who have, in the main, been transferred from Edinburgh Hospitals. A new step down facility for East Lothian patients is being created in Liberton Hospital in Edinburgh to allow this move to take place.
The Physiotherapy Department at Roodlands will also transfer to Herdmanflat Hospital as part of this process.
The hospital will be fully operational by early 2020.