Twelve years of endless discussion, procrastination, systems and processes that have yielded nothing – yet only 12 days to close the Edington Hospital.

The fact there has been no system or process to support this knee-jerk decision means the transparency of a formal consultation and the scrutiny of a public meeting have been avoided.

Although the measure is billed as temporary, we remain extremely sceptical that this will be the case, particularly given that the chair of East Lothian Joint Integration Board confirmed to me that there could be no guarantee that this service will re-open.

This is happening in an area of high-volume new housing and resulting population increase – furthermore, it also has the highest increase in older people in the county.

Patients and visitors will now be faced with an unnecessary journey to Haddington, which has poor public transport links to North Berwick.

Whilst we don’t underestimate the impact of Covid, proper workforce planning in years gone by should have allowed for the unexpected.

The irony is that on the day that this was announced, Edington Hospital itself was fully staffed.

Our analysis of the relevant corporate risk register, performance papers and other public documents make no reference to such severe staffing issues at East Lothian Community Hospital, although other hospitals are highlighted. Indeed, many years ago, we were assured that this new hospital would not replace the Edington.

It is important that everyone contacts their MSP, councillors and Peter Murray, chair of East Lothian Joint Integration Board, to make their feelings known, plus put their names to the excellent petition that has recently been raised. If we do nothing, the superb, person-centred care offered there will be lost forever.

Murray Duncanson

Chair of the Friends of Edington Hospital