IT WAS great to see restrictions ease on Monday as we move towards some form of normality, but health and care provision will take longer to recover. I will be working with the NHS locally and nationally on this issue.

In regard to the medium-term outlook, I met last week the East Lothian Integrated Joint Board (IJB) to discuss their recently announced Change Board, which will look at the ‘reprovision’ of Belhaven and Edington Hospitals and Eskgreen and The Abbey care homes. The Integrated Joint Board is a combination of health professionals and local councillors.

The Change Board is a follow-up to a report in December 2018 which the IJB discussed then about the reprovisioning of the community hospitals and care homes – action was delayed due to Covid-19. The long-term objectives of the reprovision, as across the sector generally, are to move away from residential care to care at home and extra care housing.

Workshops were held in 2018 and all those who commented wished strong local input – co-production of any models; this approach will be repeated in 2022 as the process continues. Covid and the introduction of a national care service are new factors the group now must consider.

In discussions this week, an approximate timescale was shared with me – looking at 2022 for more formal community consultation around models of care which will serve our communities for the next 30-40 years.

I have been assured further dialogue and will share with all when detailed timelines are available from the IJB.

What is clear is that during the election held only three months ago, this was one of the key priorities for voters – indeed, in Dunbar and North Berwick it was their number one issue.

I look forward to working with the IJB, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, service providers, Scottish Government and, of course, East Lothian residents in delivering models of care to serve our growing communities.