AS YOU read this article, I will have chaired the first steering group on the future of the Edington Hospital and it will have met for the first time.

The group included Friends of the Edington, North Berwick Community Council, North Berwick Health and Wellbeing Group, local GPs, trade unions and a cross-party group of councillors and MSPs.

The group will be looking not only to assure that the inpatient beds temporarily relocated to East Lothian Community Hospital are brought back as soon as possible, but also at the longer-term future of the Edington.

I recently attended a briefing by NHS Lothian attended by all local MSPs and MPs in the health board area – there was a similar temporary closure in West Lothian. NHS Lothian has promised to set out criteria for re-opening the facility. The steering group will be pushing for this criterion to be set out for re-opening the Edington as soon as possible.

I have also secured a fortnightly meeting with East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership with steering group reps so the re-opening criteria can be reviewed on a regular basis.

Once we recover from Covid and the beds are brought back to the Edington, the focus moves to securing the future of provision for all health services in North Berwick and surrounding areas that will cater for future population growth.

Design of these future services must be in co-design with the community in North Berwick and fully consult the community.

The steering group involves all major stakeholders in the community and will push for this approach and have the strength of purpose to ensure that this happens.

As the constituency MSP, I look forward to continuing to work with the community in North Berwick and surrounding villages to secure the future of the Edington and expand provision of health facilities.