PLANS not to include a minor injuries unit in the new £70million East Lothian Community Hospital are to be “revisited” by health bosses.

The absence of the service at the new hospital, which is being built in Haddington, has been at the centre of controversy since it was first announced and has come up at a number of public meetings.

But Miriam Anderson, operations business manager of the NHS project, has told the Courier health chiefs have given the team in charge of the new hospital the go-ahead to look again at its inclusion.

She said: “We have been given the green light to revisit the possibility of a minor injuries unit.

“It comes up at public meetings and I think for many people who talk about wanting accident and emergency services at the hospital, minor injuries is what they mean.”

The initial plans by NHS Lothian ruled out a minor injuries unit because it said there was not sufficient demand for the service to justify its inclusion.

Mrs Anderson said she had been an advocate for the service, adding: “We believe having a minor injuries unit will attract people to come here from Musselburgh rather than go into Edinburgh.”

The move to review the decision was welcomed by Councillor Norman Hampshire, depute council leader, who had been among those to speak out about the missing service. He said: “I think everybody is aware of the pressures at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. East Lothian is a growing community and people in East Lothian should be able to access a minor injuries service at this new hospital.

“I think there will be enough footfall to make it sustainable.”

The new hospital is already operating its new outpatients department, which opened to patients in March, as the task of creating the new multi-million-pound hospital on the site of the town’s former Roodlands Hospital continues.

The new hospital will have 132 beds in six wards, as well as 12 additional day beds.

As well as three general wards, one has been allocated for orthopaedics, one for inpatients and another for mental health patients.

The team behind the new hospital is continually looking at new services which can be introduced, as well as ways to create a community hub around the hospital.

Mrs Anderson said extensive planning had gone into creating a public walkway around the garden areas, as well as providing a community hall and space for groups.

There is hope a Friends group will be established for the hospital and first steps are being take to look at securing additional funding and third sector support for the community side of the hospital.

Mrs Anderson said: “We hope the additional support will help us develop the grounds and gardens to make them an asset to the hospital and the community and include the community in its day-to-day life.”

Some aspects of the hospital’s plans have already had to be altered, with new Government legislation meaning the nearest dropping-off point for patients is 45 metres from the main entrance, with disabled parking allowed no closer than 25 metres. This has meant changing car parking and bus routes at the new hospital.

However, the new hospital will provide a number of services which will not only support patients but provide training for nurses in departments including physiotherapy, community mental health, diagnostics, learning disabilities, midwifery and outpatients.

And it has been given arts funding to create a wealth of work throughout the site from the Edinburgh Health Foundation charity.

Six artists have been chosen to work under curator Arabella Harvey on projects, all funded by the foundation. They are Juliana Capes, Kenny Hunter, Lindsay Perth, Zuzana Gibb, Simon and Sylvia Kowalcsyk and Pippa Murphy.