KEYS to East Lothian’s multi-million-pound hospital have been handed over to NHS Lothian and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

The latest significant milestone will allow the team to finalise migration plans, with an aim to move patients into the new East Lothian Community Hospital, in Haddington, over the coming months.

This marks the completion of the penultimate phase of construction and follows the successful handover of the outpatients department, which has been benefiting patients since March last year.

The final phase will focus on the car park and landscaping, with the entire development being complete next spring.

Work on the new East Lothian Community Hospital began nearly three years ago.

Alison MacDonald, chief officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, was delighted with the progress being made on the site of the town's former Roodlands Hospital.

She said: “This hospital has been highly anticipated and will bring huge benefits for patients and carers in East Lothian.

“In particular, it will enable people to have a range of procedures in a brand new, purpose-built hospital for which they previously had to travel to Edinburgh or further afield.

“It is also a real asset to the community, with public rooms available to local groups, local radio providing hospital broadcasting and the hospital’s grounds open to all.

“I would really like to take this opportunity to thank our project team, our staff, our local artists and the community for their collaboration and support for the new East Lothian Community Hospital.

“They have done a fantastic job.”

The completion of the new three-storey, 22,000sq metre hospital, on Haddington’s Hospital Road, means that patients and staff will have access to mental health services, IV treatment and an increase of inpatient beds, as well as other new and existing services already provided in East Lothian.

The redevelopment of the hospital site is being undertaken in partnership with Hub South East, with Morrison Construction as the main contractor.

Richard Park, operations director, Hub South East, said: “Having been involved in this project since the early stages, as Hub South East helped drive plans for the redevelopment, I’m incredibly proud to have reached this major milestone and know that local patients will soon be benefitting from the use of this fantastic new facility.

“This is our largest project to begin construction, and the biggest Hub deal signed so far in Scotland.

“It has been a great example of positive partnership working with NHS Lothian and we look forward to completing the development in 2020.”

Roodlands Hospital has provided general medical and geriatric rehabilitation services to patients in East Lothian since the 1940s and was previously established as an infectious diseases facility at the start of the 20th century.

Herdmanflat Hospital, which is situated less than a mile to the east of the new site, provides psychiatric service and started life as East Lothian County Asylum in 1866.

The new hospital, like Roodlands, will not have an Accident and Emergency department.