Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Trade Unions and Professional Organisations in NHS Lothian are actively working together and also in partnership with NHS Lothian  to ensure that all staff, regardless of job, location or working pattern, have access to adequate and appropriate PPE to allow them to perform their duties as safely as possible at all times following the latest Health Protection Scotland guidance which is in line with the guidance published by the four countries chief nursing and chief medical officers on the 2nd April.

We acknowledge that not all tasks require full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including FFP3 masks but we will constantly review this in line with any further evidence or guidance produced.

Concerns have been raised regarding variance in provision of PPE between departments and sites. As always, NHS Lothian has a duty to carry out risk assessments, to identify which PPE is appropriate to each task and this is something we will be working jointly to ensure is undertaken as and when appropriate. You must  use the appropriate PPE required for each task. Your health and that of others will be put at risk if both risk assessments and use of appropriate PPE are not maintained. Risk assessments must be made freely available to all staff and we encourage you to request sight of them, and to raise any concerns with local management and/or your local health and safety representative. You should also carry out a self-risk assessment if you have concerns.

We wish to give all members in the workplace a joint assurance of support in protecting the safety of staff and patients throughout NHS Lothian. You have the right to refuse to carry out any task for which you have not been provided with adequate and appropriate PPE and if you are within a medical category which requires workplace adjustments that you must be given the appropriate PPE to support this and again this should be undertaken as part of any risk assessment.

Please do not hesitate to contact your line manager or your own local trade union or professional body representative  if you have any concerns regarding risk assessments, PPE or any other matter.

Alex McMahon
Executive Director
Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs   
Alex Joyce
Employer Director

A joint statement from the Care Inspectorate and the SSSC

The Care Inspectorate and the SSSC have issued a joint statement on ethical and professional decision-making in the COVID-19 pandemic, and risk assessment guidance on repurposing of medicines within care home services.

Health and social care staff are playing a vital role caring for people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We recognise that the prime concern for everyone is the health, safety and wellbeing of people experiencing care. We also acknowledge the continued dedication, professionalism, compassion and commitment of all those working to care for people in the most difficult of circumstances; we thank you all for all that you do.

We acknowledge that in certain circumstances staff may need to depart from established practices in the administration of medication, in order to care for people in an ethical manner.

The pandemic raises concerns with accessing palliative care medicines, particularly controlled drugs, due to either fragility of the medicine supply chain (locally or nationally), or if people who need care deteriorate rapidly out of hours when a prescription cannot be dispensed.

The repurposing of medicines prescribed for someone else is not a practice that is normally acceptable. However, at this time, if there is no other option available, we acknowledge that this may be an ethical and moral step that may be considered.

Repurposing of medicines is not a decision to be taken lightly. It should be seen as a last resort to provide a patient with access to palliative medication that they require when other options to access stock cannot be made in a timely way to meet the patient needs. Such decisions should be taken within a local governance framework that includes undertaking of a risk assessment and a decision record made.

An update from Maureen Allan, Interim Chief Executive at STRiVE

Good Afternoon Colleague/Partner

I hope this finds you and your families safe and well.

A couple of apologises first, sorry for taking so long to get in touch and sorry that this is a “enmasse” email.

I wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that as you may be aware there have been some significant changes within the organisation. Eliot and Linda left at the end of March and I accepted the role as Interim Chief Officer.  I have, with the full support of our Chair Tom Shearer and other Board members, restructured the STRiVE team. Whilst the timing has not been ideal, these changes needed to be made to ensure that STRiVE is a proactive, community based, viable partner in East Lothian.

All TSI (Third Sector Interface) funded staff have undergone a consultation process which has led to redundancies being made.

I want to reassure you that this course of action was planned pre-covid 19 and we have agreed this process with our Scottish Government Funding Manager, who are supporting us to do so.

My aim is to be open and transparent with all our partners and this must include any challenges we may face. I hope that you agree that the changes being made are a positive step that will enable us to work towards embedding STRiVE in the communities and working alongside you to ensure that East Lothian has a strong and vibrant 3rd Sector now and post Covid. 

In the coming months you will see some further changes, a quick overview:

  • Community and Community Organisation support
  • Initial free online training available for you and your staff, a great way to update rusty skills for furloughed staff and moving forward an opportunity to upskill your volunteers, or your clients 
  • Open door and office sharing opportunities
  • Forums, regular bulletins and updates both locally and nationally
  • Rebranding – back to basics Volunteer (Centre) East Lothian will go live on the 1st June
  • New staff members.

We at STRiVE find ourselves in a unique position that because we are funded through Scottish Government we may weather the Covid Storm slightly better than some of our 3rd Sector colleagues. With this in mind I want to know what I can do for you and the network in East Lothian.

I would like to set up an online Forum for us to come together to discuss our resilience during Covid and ensure that everyone is applying for the funding available. There has been a particularly low uptake for East Lothian.

I appreciate some of you may have had a tenuous relationship with the organisation but I believe that there is an opportunity to move forward in a more open and honest way. Part of my remit is to “mend’ fences. I cannot do my job without you, your local knowledge or views. I want to make sure that we all have a fighting chance and to do so we must come together.

For those of you who don’t know me, I hope you will take the opportunity to get in touch so that we do get to know each other. Ultimately, I like you want to make a difference to the people of East Lothian’s lives.


Maureen Allan | Interim Chief Officer

STRiVE | 01875 615 423 | Mobile: 07947 795067

56 High Street, Tranent, EH33 1HH

Gullane Scrubbers

Local volunteers have established “Gullane Scrubbers”, making scrubs and scrub bags for the NHS and care homes. The first batch of 89 scrub wash bags was delivered to the East Lothian Community Hospital.

The production of over 100 scrubs trousers is now well underway with the sample sizes seen here being delivered to the Muirfield Care home in Gullane.

Well done to all the “Scrubbers” – a fantastic effort by all.

Contact the Gullane Resilience Group :
Email to or telephone 07312 117 993

Please note: the products made by the Gullane Scrubbers were produced in line with guidance from NHS Lothian.

Carers ID Letter – partnership working to support unpaid carers

Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) continues to work with key partners, including East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP), to address some of the challenges unpaid carers are facing when trying to access everyday necessities during the lockdown.

This is a stressful time for carers, unpaid and otherwise. Carers have told us about a range of difficulties, from sourcing PPE to the fear of being prevented from buying multiple items of a product when shopping for more than one household at a time.

We have written to all carers on our contact database to provide them with a letter signed by Alison Macdonald, Director of ELHSCP, which they can use to identify themselves as an unpaid carer if they are questioned (see copy attached).

The positive outcomes of this joint working are already evident. Some carers have told us that receiving the letter has made them feel valued and heard. Others have reported that it has given them peace of mind when they are leaving the house to provide essential care for loved ones.

One parent carer, whose child has complex support needs, shared how the letter had resolved a potentially awkward situation in the supermarket. Her daughter, who has a sensory processing difficulties, will only eat one type of yogurt. Staff at Tesco challenged her when they saw she had several packets of the same brand of yogurt in her trolley. However, they were very understanding when she produced the unpaid carer ID letter and explained her daughter’s difficulties, even asking if there was any additional help they could offer her with shopping. It is heartening to see people, services and organisations pulling together to support unpaid carers and the people they care for at this difficult time.

CoEL is continuing to take new referrals. We urge all practitioners to ask about the needs of unpaid carers when carrying out assessments and delivering support. Anyone can make a referral via our online referral form or by calling 0131 665 0135. We are providing information, practical advice and emotional support to carers over the telephone, assisting with welfare rights issues and benefit applications, and connecting carers to local and national resilience resources.

Carers’ ID letter

Scottish Government Media Release: Rapid coronavirus research

More than 50 Scottish studies to tackle virus and its impact

Research projects to increase the understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19), screen potential treatments and support clinical trials will benefit from almost £5 million of Scottish Government funding.

The money will support 55 rapid research projects in 15 Scottish universities and research institutions, contributing to global efforts to combat the virus and its wider effects, including research to:

  • better understand the effects of infection
  • develop and test new diagnostics and treatments 
  • investigate new disease surveillance approaches
  • inform interventions to prevent transmission of infection
  • support the mental health of frontline health and social care workers
  • understand the physical and mental health implications of lockdown measures

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Scotland is home to some of the most respected researchers and scientists in the world. COVID-19 is the biggest challenge we have faced in our lifetimes and it is vital that we capture the potential of the extraordinarily strong research base here to contribute to the global efforts to tackle and mitigate the impact of it. 

“I know many academics are already thinking about how their research can be used during this national and international emergency. This funding enables universities and research institutions to immediately draw on the very best science and methodologies available to build on our understanding of this virus, develop new treatments, stop infection and support people’s mental and physical health.”

Chief Scientist for Health Professor David Crossman said:

“The range of projects – both scientific subject areas and the different research institutions – that are receiving funding will help us understand many aspects of this terrible disease. The projects selected for funding all aim to give results as quickly as possible.

“Scotland is in a strong position to undertake clinical research and the response from universities and research institution to this COVID-19 research call emphatically reinforces that view.”


The Rapid Research in COVID-19 funding call was launched by the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office on 25 March 2020.

Successful applicants were chosen by an independent expert panel, co-chaired by Professor Eleanor Davies from the University of Glasgow and Professor Shaun Treweek from the University of Aberdeen.

All research projects are in a position to start without delay and will be complete within a six month timeframe.

Projects from following universities and research institutions have been awarded funding:

  • University of Aberdeen: 6 projects, £972,870
  • University of Dundee: 2 projects, £487,710
  • University of Edinburgh: 8 projects, £603,500
  • Glasgow Caledonian University: 3 projects, £136,290
  • University of Glasgow: 9 projects, £1,025,458
  • Institute of Occupational Medicine: 1 project, £206,300
  • Edinburgh Napier University: 3 projects, £166,826
  • Queen Margaret University: 2 projects, £92,424
  • Robert Gordon University: 1 project, £55,789
  • University of St Andrews: 3 projects, £132,719
  • University of Strathclyde: 4 projects, £355,096
  • Scotland’s Rural College: 1 project, £36,118
  • University of Stirling: 10 projects, £480,707
  • University of the Highlands and Islands: 1 project, £44,581
  • University of the West of Scotland: 1 project, £128,882