RECENT statistics have shown record high staffing levels at the NHS across Scotland in 2018.

East Lothian benefits from the increased numbers of staff working for NHS Lothian, rising from 20,656 to 20,858 – a rise of one per cent. Thanks to the SNP’s 2019/20 budget, NHS Lothian is set to receive an extra £57.2 million in spending power – a 4.1 per cent increase on last year’s spending.

NHS Lothian will benefit from having more dedicated and highly skilled staff in our hospitals– ensuring people in East Lothian receive the world-class care they have come to expect from our NHS. As a highly valued public service, the SNP will continue to ensure the NHS is properly funded and fit for the future.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently announced that “more than £50 million will be spent on increasing access to mental health services” for 11,000 more expectant and new mothers who experience mental health challenges during and after their pregnancy. This distribution of funds will be managed by the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board. While on a visit to the mother and baby unit at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, she said: “This new funding will identify mental health problems quickly so they can be treated promptly.”

Dr Roch Cantwell of the Perinatal Mental Health National Managed Clinical Network stated: “The needs assessment and service recommendations report gives us a template to establish services which will ensure that women… receive expert care wherever they live in Scotland.”

I am delighted to hear that the Hollies Day Centre in East Lothian, which provides services for older people, has been given a £120,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to help with staffing costs and other needs. I look forward to seeing how the Hollies Day Centre’s use of this money will help to better serve the older people of our community.