STAFF at a multi-million-pound new hospital can now enjoy a break in an attractive and comfortable outdoor space.

East Lothian Community Hospital, on the site of the former Roodlands Hospital in Haddington, has benefited from the donation of new benches and parasols.

The outdoor equipment has come from Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, which was keen to create an outdoor space for staff to rest, relax and take some time out from long and busy shifts.

Ian Mackenzie, Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation’s green health programme manager, said there were physical and mental health benefits to being able to enjoy the outdoors.

He said: “The health benefits of spending time in the fresh air are wide-ranging, from helping to reduce stress and fatigue to improving mood and reducing heart rate.

“In fact, spending just 20 minutes outdoors is enough to spark a positive change.

“Staff wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do at Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, so we were delighted to be able to support East Lothian Community Hospital with their wellbeing project.

“Making the most of these outdoor spaces is not only important during these times of increased stress and pressure, but is also something from which staff can benefit beyond the pandemic.”

The hospital first opened its doors in 2018, with services including mental health services, endoscopy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics and music therapy.

The £70 million project was built on the site of Roodlands Hospital, which was demolished to make way for the modern replacement.

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, chair of East Lothian Integration Joint Board, thanked Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation for its support.

She said: “Promoting staff health and wellbeing is key to all that we do in the partnership and the rooftop garden is a fantastic resource for people needing to take a break and reset during the course of the working day.

“I know that it’s much appreciated and our staff based at East Lothian Community Hospital are already making good use of it.”