Get help with your electricity and heating bills

Information from Ceri Smalridge at Changeworks for ELHSCP staff, partners and the people we support

We are now spending more time at home because of COVID-19. This means using more heating, hot water and electricity, and for some a decrease in income too. Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Advisers can help you keep your home warm and your heating and electricity bills low.

  • We can help you:
  • Understand your heating and electricity bills
  • Switch to different suppliers
  • Talk to your energy company on your behalf
  • Access emergency credit and funds
  • Keep your bills down

Our advisers can contact you via telephone, email or video call.

Call 0131 555 4010 or email

For more information visit

Restrictive practices and cyber-crime in today’s Care Inspectorate update

Supporting improvement in the use of restrictive practices

The Care Inspectorate aspires to people experiencing person-led, outcome-focused care that respects their rights, and reflects the Health and Social Care Standards and recommendations from the Independent Care Review. We work collaboratively with organisations and the care sector to share good practice and support and spread improvement and innovation around Scotland.

We are a member of the Scottish Network for Reduction of Restrictive Practices (SNRRP). The SNRRP recognises that the use of restrictive practices with vulnerable people presents a systemic challenge and needs cross-sector, whole-system collaboration. Its aim is to eliminate the misuse of restrictive practices in Scotland as far as possible and ensure that when used, it is done safely and in a culture of openness and transparency with respect for people’s human rights. 

We are also a member of the Scottish Physical Restraint Action Group (SPRAG).  This aspires to bring about more effective, empathic, loving ways of holding children, young people and the adults who care for them in the residential child care sector. The aim is to offer relationally rich environments, populated by adults equipped with the requisite skills, knowledge and ways of being with children. If you would like to join the SPRAG, please contact or

Sign up for the CyberScotland bulletin

The Cyber Resilience COVID-19 Bulletin was set up to provide guidance relating to scams during the pandemic. The Scottish Government now plans to adapt the bulletin to cover a greater scope of cyber security and cyber resilience topics. The bulletin will continue to provide information about the latest threats, scams, news and updates.

The next CyberScotland Bulletin will be available on a new website from 1 October 2020. If you would like to receive these, you can subscribe to the CyberScotland mailing list.

Covid-19 Mental Welfare Commission Advice Note (updated 11 September)

From the Mental Welfare Commission

The Mental Welfare Commission is being contacted for advice on mental health care and treatment related to this pandemic.

In light of this we have produced this updated advice note (version 15) for practitioners who are using the Mental Health Act and Adults with Incapacity Act when caring for patients.

Please read this Advice Note and share it with colleagues who may find it helpful. Please also note that it will likely be updated frequently as the situation develops. We will issue updates, but please also check our website for the latest version.

We hope you find this helpful and ask that you email us at if you have any questions or comments.

You can find the Advice Note here.

With our staff now all working from home, please also see here for details of contacting the Commission at this time.

Very first COSLA podcast now online

From David J Kennedy, COSLA

Hi all,

In case you don’t pick it up on Social Media (posted at 12.30pm today), the very first COSLA podcast has just been published – the President and Vice-President are joined by Andy Wightman MSP to discuss his Bill on The European Charter of Local Self-Government.

You can listen on Spotify:

Or online:



David J Kennedy
Head of Media and Communication
T: 0131 474 9205 M: 07788452710
Twitter:  @COSLA

Feedback from Friday’s John Muir House Fire Drill

Fire Drill

From Alex McCrorie, East Lothian Council Depute Chief Executive

As notified an evacuation/fire drill took place at John Muir House on Friday, 11 September at 3.30pm.

Overall the drill was a success and I would like to thank all staff involved.  A total of 19 members of staff successfully evacuated the building (having signed out as instructed).

Remember to sign in and out!

However, there were a couple of staff who had not signed out earlier in the day which, had it been a genuine fire call, would have resulted in the fire service having to locate those not accounted for. This highlights that it is of the utmost importance that you sign yourself out when leaving the building. It is also important that you sign out when leaving the building at lunchtime. You can then sign back in on your return.

In addition, there were a number of doors that had been wedged open. This is not good practice and must stop with immediate effect.

The drill was completed in six minutes.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Alex McCrorie
Depute Chief Executive
Resources and People Services

Suicide Prevention Week East Lothian 2020 – message from Fiona O’Donnell

East Lothian IJB Chair Councillor Fiona O’Donnell says:

‘Public Health Scotland is launching their new “United to prevent suicide” campaign this today on World Suicide Prevention Day. They want to get people to join the conversation and make Scotland into the most supportive country in the world. They are inviting people to sign up to pledge their support for this. In return, they will get a pack that includes resources that will help them to talk and listen with confidence to people who are feeling suicidal. I know this is something that people really worry about. I think the pack will be a real help to people who need help to support a loved one, friend or work mate. You can find out more about this at

‘I think many more people are struggling with mental health at the moment. The impact of COVID has affected so much – work, home life and relationships. In East Lothian, we have developed a range of services to support people when they are finding it hard to keep going.  Services like our Mental Health phone line and 1St Response can make a real difference. We are also glad that we have such good support from Third Sector partners like Changes, Stepping Out, Penumbra and EastSpace.

‘Taking that first step can be very difficult but it is worth taking – for you, your family and friends. If you are feeling suicidal or supporting someone who is, there is help available – please get in touch with one of our local services or with a national one like Breathing Space or the Samaritans. You will find local and national contact information at the foot of this article.

‘Things are difficult just now and people are under lots of extra pressure. Let’s all do our best by supporting the “United to prevent suicide” campaign and using the services out there – they are all there to listen and help.’

Sources of help and advice

For NHS Community Staff – relief of severe symptoms of COVID-19 lung disease training presentation

Lungs Icon - Free Download, PNG and Vector

Training: Symptom Management of Severe COVID-19 related Lung Disease (Community)


A new training presentation for Community Nurses, ‘The relief of severe symptoms of COVID-19 lung disease where a person’s rapid decline is anticipated in the community,’ is available on the COVID-19 Training section on the intranet, within the COVID-19 Base.  The presentation includes a voiceover. If you don’t have access to sound on your PC there is a downloadable transcript. 

Both the presentation and resources below were created by a Multi-disciplinary group of NHS Lothian and Hospice staff.


  • Guidance for Community Nurses: the use of two Community Drug Administration charts for patients with symptoms of severe COVID-19 lung disease where rapid decline is anticipated

People-powered movement to prevent suicide in Scotland launches on World Suicide Prevention Day

A movement to make Scotland the most supportive nation in the world has kicked off on World Suicide Prevention Day today (10 September).

Informed by thousands of people across Scotland and co-produced with people of lived experience, United to Prevent Suicide, a new campaign launched by Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG), aims to build confidence to talk about suicide and invites people to pledge their support to the national movement for change.

It comes as a new YouGov poll commissioned by the NSPLG revealed that nearly a third (31%) of people in Scotland wouldn’t know how to help if someone they knew was having suicidal thoughts, and over a third (36%) have never spoken about suicide with anyone.

While people in Scotland are most confident talking to their friends about suicide (51%), over a third of (39%) would not feel confident talking about suicide with their family, and when it comes to the workplace, over half of workers (54%) would not feel confident broaching the subject with colleagues.

With sobering figures revealing that in Scotland on average two people die every day by suicide* and at any one time around 1 in 20 people are contemplating suicide**, the campaign comes at a time when the impact of the pandemic on mental health remains high on the national agenda.

As the easing of lockdown brings new challenges, the Chair of Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, Rose Fitzpatrick hopes the national effort will encourage people to open up a dialogue about suicide and know where help is available, or how to help someone struggling.

Ms Fitzpatrick commented:

“Many of us have been affected by suicide in some way, so it has never been more important to be able to talk about suicide. Giving each one of us the confidence to ask or tell a member of our family, a friend or colleague about suicide really will make a difference. I am excited to launch United to Prevent Suicide today because it is a way to bring people together so that we have the confidence to talk about suicide and to save lives.”

Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey said:

“Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. It’s important that we all feel able to listen and talk about suicide more openly and that is why I am encouraging everyone to join the movement for change – United to Prevent Suicide. By being open and honest we will break down barriers and help to save lives.”

Councillor Stuart Currie, CoSLA Health and Social Care Spokesperson added:

“The activities which take place across Scotland’s Council areas aim to reduce the rates of suicide and the launch of United to Prevent Suicide forms a crucial part of this important programme of work. Suicide can happen to anyone and by listening and talking about suicide, we can all do something to help. I encourage supporters to join the movement and sign up to the United to Prevent Suicide pledge.”

Supporters are invited to join the movement by first signing the pledge at The movement aims to help improve knowledge and skills in suicide prevention through a United to Prevent Suicide pack, which includes learning resources on listening and talking about suicide.

The campaign is supported by Liam Hayman, who, after struggling with gender dysphoria and social problems throughout his teenage years, attempted suicide on two occasions. Now in recovery and a student at university, Liam is using his own experience to support the campaign. He said:

“I was fortunate enough to survive my suicide attempt and with support I began a slow recovery process, but for too many people in Scotland, the ending is loss of life. Scotland needs a new suicide prevention initiative and that is what we are, as a huge collaborative effort, building.

“As we develop the new suicide prevention initiative it is vital that the input of those with lived experience of suicide, and its consequences, are included. I applied to be a member of the NSPLG lived experience panel so that I can use my experience to make sure that what is being implemented is as relevant as possible.”

Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) was set up to help drive implementation of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan (2018).

Together we can save lives, so let’s talk suicide. Join the conversation.

Staff Survey – Wheelchair Accessible Housing

Why It Is Time For Developers To Take Another Look At Accessible Housing |  Prabhu Ventures

By Rebecca Pringle, Senior Housing Strategy Officer, East Lothian Council

In 2019, the Scottish Government brought in a requirement for all local authorities to deliver a target number of wheelchair accessible properties and to report annually on progress. As part of the work to identify a suitable target in East Lothian, a Housing Need and Demand Assessment is being carried out to identify the following;

  • A target for the development of wheelchair accessible housing across all tenures
  • A process which will set out how the target will be applied and how need and demand will continue to be monitored.
  • The need and projected demand for housing related services for individuals who use a wheelchair i.e. information and advice or housing support.

This survey is open to all East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership staff who work with individuals who are in a wheelchair whether this is at an operational or strategic level. The survey will take no more than 15 minutes of your time. If you’d like to share more information, statistics or discuss anything specific, please feel free to give me a ring or drop me an email.

The staff survey can be accessed via this link –

Survey for people who use wheelchairs and their carers

Open 11th September 2020 – 11th October.

We also have a survey running for individuals and families to complete. This can be accessed via the Council’s Consultation HUB on the website – please feel free to encourage and pass on this survey for anyone who would be interested in completing it.  

Both surveys will open for access tomorrow.

Any questions at all, please get in touch.

Many thanks

Rebecca Rebecca Pringle
Senior Strategy Officer
Strategy & Development
Tel: 01620 827 913
Mobile: 07812 747 053