A HUB for assessing people suspected of having coronavirus (Covid-19) has opened in Musselburgh.

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership has opened a Covid-19 Assessment Hub in the town as part of NHS Lothian’s regional strategy for the management of patients needing assessment for possible coronavirus infection.

Dr Alastair Clubb, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s primary care clinical lead, said: "The team will assess people who have been advised to attend by NHS24’s Call 111 service after phone triage.

"I want to make it very clear this is not a drop-in facility. The team does not carry out laboratory testing for coronavirus."

"Patients who have symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 infection should follow the guidance and advice on self-care and isolation on the NHS Inform website (nhsinform.scot).

"It will take you through your symptoms and tell you if you are one of the small number of people who should contact NHS24’s Call 111 service for further assessment over the phone.

"A very small number of patients assessed over the phone will be advised to attend one of the assessment centres in the Lothian region.

"Following these steps ensures that patients are safely assessed and allocated to the correct service for their needs.

"And it reduces the risk of transmitting the virus – the most important action we can all take during the pandemic."

Patients attending the centre in Musselburgh will be greeted by the clinical team, who will already have all the relevant clinical information for patients.

Most patients will be assessed without having to leave their car because the team is able to do this by going through a number of simple observations (for example, temperature, oxygen saturation, appearance etc).

It will usually not be necessary to give patients a full clinical examination, for example, a chest examination. Routinely carrying out clinical examinations could increase the risk of virus transmission.

A small number of patients attending will be brought into the centre for further assessment and then directed towards the appropriate care, either at home or in hospital.

Dr Clubb said: "The pathway for accessing the service is designed to ensure the safety of patients and staff alike. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, always call 999."

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s Chief Officer Alison Macdonald added: "I would like to thank the team for getting the service up and running safely and quickly.

"We are well-placed to do this because we have been able to draw upon the expertise of the CWIC team, which has been developed over the last two years in our primary care service in Musselburgh.

"I would also like to re-iterate what Dr Clubb said about sticking to the rules.

"It is crucial that we all adhere to the guidance on contacting NHS 24’s 111 service – by doing this, you are doing your bit to help the NHS manage during these challenging times. Thank you."

Thank you for reading this story. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make.

In order for us to continue to provide trusted local news, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper if you do not already.

Trusted news has never been so important - and neither has your support.

The Courier is not immune to the severe pressures brought on businesses up and down the land by the Covid-19 lockdown.

So if you are able to buy a copy for yourself -and maybe even for a neighbour too who is not able to get to the shops - then we would be very grateful.

And if you do wish to support us, please check with your local newsagent to see if they can deliver the Courier to you.

There is also an E-Edition that can be read on your PC, phone or tablet - just click the ‘E-Edition’ tab under the Courier masthead on the homepage of this website for more details.

We want to be able to continue telling you all about our community heroes: our NHS staff, council staff, teachers, carers, shop owners and shop workers and the army of volunteers in every town and village helping the vulnerable.

But we need your support to do so. If you can, please buy a paper. And keep well and keep safe.

Thank you.

Robbie Scott, Editor