A CALL for carers to be given the same priority as NHS workers by shops and delivery services has been made by East Lothian’s health services chairperson.

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, who chairs East Lothian Integration Joint Board, said that the army of social care workers in East Lothian were carrying out vital work to keep people safe and well in their homes and preventing more admissions to hospital.

She urged local businesses to give them more support and recognise the efforts they are making to support the NHS.

Currently, supermarkets are setting aside an hour every day for NHS workers to do their shopping as a priority.

There has been frustration from some carers that they are not included in the priority hour.

Ms O’Donnell said: “We have seen the benefits in East Lothian of the integration of health and social care.

“Social care workers are caring for our most vulnerable citizens in their homes and in our care homes.

“The work they do is vital, to keep people safe and well, and to try and prevent admissions to hospital.

“For some people requiring care, the social care worker will be the only person who enters their home. The social care workforce will also be key to getting people back home when they have recovered from Covid-19.

“It was deeply moving to take part in the applause for NHS staff and carers on Thursday at 8pm. It is so important that those who are working so selflessly for the greater good know how much we appreciate them.

“Here in East Lothian we have also seen local shops and other businesses showing their appreciation with initiatives such as free coffees and priority in accessing shops.

“That appreciation has to include social care workers too. I ask every shop in East Lothian to make sure that is happening here. Health and social care workers are all deserving of that.”