THE first inpatients have been welcomed to East Lothian’s new multi-million-pound hospital.

East Lothian Community Hospital (ELCH) in Haddington will house all the services previously delivered at the town’s Roodlands and Herdmanflat Hospitals, in addition to new services, including minor surgery and an out-of-hours service.

The new hospital, built on the site of the former Roodlands Hospital, will also be able to support patients currently in Haddington Care Home, Crookston Care Home in Tranent, and some patients from Midlothian Community Hospital.

Alison Macdonald, chief officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, was delighted with the progress being made at the hospital, which has cost £70 million.

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.”

Ms Macdonald was also keen to see the building become “a real asset to the community”.

She told the Courier: “There are public rooms available to local groups, a Royal Voluntary Service cafeteria and local radio, who will be providing hospital broadcasting.

“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 hospital is home to various services, ranging from endoscopy procedure rooms to six wards, totalling 132 beds in single en-suite rooms.

The final phase of work at the hospital includes the construction of a new car park and landscaping of the hospital site.

Tim Davison, chief executive for NHS Lothian, said: “We are delighted with this fantastic new facility which will help us achieve our goal of delivering high-quality care, as close to home as possible.

“It’s a great example of integrated planning and delivery between NHS Lothian, East Lothian Council and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

“The new facilities will provide the venue for a significant increase in patient activity compared to the old hospital, including the return of some services to East Lothian previously provided in Midlothian Community Hospital.”

This project has been delivered through NHS Lothian’s development partner, Hub South East Scotland Ltd, with Morrison Construction as the main building contractor.