PATIENTS are getting back on their feet thanks to a dedicated orthopaedic rehabilitation ward at East Lothian Community Hospital.

The development of in-patient orthopaedic rehabilitation in the county is part of the local health board’s orthopaedic recovery plan to reduce waiting times for elective surgical cases.

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly affected waiting lists across NHS Scotland due to postponements and cancellations.

By ring-fencing dedicated orthopaedic recovery beds at the Haddington hospital, NHS Lothian says it can increase the number of elective hip and knee surgeries performed at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Aris Tyrothoulakis, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh site director, said: “We are delighted that East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) have been able to extend their provision and create this dedicated rehabilitation ward to support Lothian residents following orthopaedic surgery.

“With the Haddington-based hospital featuring an extensive rehabilitation service, it was the obvious venue of choice for this service provision, and it is very much hoped this initiative will pave the way for the hospital to become a ‘centre for excellence’ in orthopaedic rehabilitation.”

Reducing waiting times helps to prevent patients’ conditions deteriorating and health and social care needs escalating while awaiting surgery.

It also enables East Lothian patients to benefit from post-operative in-patient rehabilitation closer to home, making access and visiting easier, and supporting local planning and provision for discharge.

Fiona Wilson, chief officer for ELHSCP, said: “We were incredibly grateful to NHS Lothian for the opportunity to establish this dedicated service and support the people of East Lothian and beyond to receive post-surgery rehabilitation.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to pass on my thanks, admiration, and appreciation to the incredible teams within East Lothian Community Hospital, the rehabilitation service, and our colleagues at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for the extensive planning and organisation that has gone into the set-up of this dedicated ward.

“It has been an amazing team effort, delivered in a very short timescale, and I’m incredibly proud of what has been achieved to date. I’m sure this will pave the way for further success to come.”