SCOTLAND’S Health Secretary has been accused of “leaving communities in the dark” over the future of the Edington Cottage Hospital.

The North Berwick hospital shut in September as staff were temporarily relocated to East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington. It will not open for at least another month, despite local opposition to the closure.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, raised the issue during a members’ business debate in the Scottish Parliament last week.

Mr Hoy accused Humza Yousaf MSP, Scotland’s Health Secretary, of failing to outline the reasons behind the decision to close the hospital to the community.

The Conservative politician said: “Edington Cottage Hospital provides vital and top-quality healthcare on our doorstep and the voices of local people cannot be ignored.

“I was determined to highlight their opposition in Parliament and make the SNP’s Health Secretary sit up and take note. Local communities have been left completely in the dark by Humza Yousaf over NHS Lothian’s decision.

“Residents and users of the hospital cannot find any information behind the decision.

“That simply isn’t good enough and there must be a commitment to greater transparency now.

“This debate showed the strength of opposition to the Edington Cottage Hospital remaining closed.

“I will not rest until services resume in North Berwick and residents get an explanation on the health board’s decision-making.”

A decision was made in September to temporarily transfer staff from the North Berwick hospital to Haddington in a bid to consolidate staffing “in the face of unprecedented levels of demand”.

Uncertainty now surrounds the future of the hospital, with no indication when it could reopen.

The decision sparked protests in North Berwick’s Lodge Grounds, with calls to see the hospital, which features a minor injuries unit, reopened.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government told the Courier that the Health Secretary would meet with campaigners against the closure “early in the new year”.

They said: “As the Health Secretary stated in Parliament on December 16, the closure of the hospital is a temporary measure, due to staffing issues as a result of the pandemic, and the decision will be kept under review by NHS Lothian.

“We understand the concerns of local people. These temporary measures have provided additional capacity to support East Lothian residents and allowed increased capacity in other local services.”