We all have feelings

Staff at GP practices across the county are having to deal with rising levels of abusive language from patients. This is incredibly hard for staff who have been doing their very best to support patients throughout the pandemic.

Dr Jon Turvill, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) clinical director and local GP, said:

“Primary care teams have been on the frontline and working incredibly hard throughout Covid and we have to understand that the pandemic is not over yet.

“Primary care teams and vulnerable patients have to be kept safe. We can only do that by keeping face-to-face contact for those who need it most and are most vulnerable.

“Practices are dealing with more calls than ever and we know that many people find telephone, video and online contact helpful and efficient.

“However, clinicians are seeing thousands of patients face-to-face weekly where that is needed.

“We would ask that people treat our hard-pressed staff with consideration and kindness, as they would wish to be treated themselves.

“We understand the frustrations of difficulties with access, but angry and abusive language is completely unacceptable.”

Some branded Teams backgrounds

If you’re tired of having your home office or kitchen as the background for your Teams meetings, here are some downloadable backgrounds you can use instead.

All you need to do is right click your mouse on the background you want to use, select ‘Save Image As’ and save it to a folder on your pc.

Then all you have to do is:

  • Join your MS Teams meeting and make sure your camera is on
  • Click on the … icon to the immediate left of the camera icon
  • Select ‘Apply background effects’ from the drop-down menu that will appear
  • On the pain that has opened up on the right-hand side of the screen, select ‘Add new’
  • This allows you to select the photo from the folder you have stored it in
  • Select ‘Preview’ to see that it’s working
  • Don’t panic when the logo looks back-to-front – your audience will see it the right way around
  • Click ‘Apply’ and that’s you.

If you would like to add branded photos to our library, feel free – just email your photos to jogden-smith@eastlothian.gov.uk and I’ll customise them and add them to this gallery. Make sure that you resize them downwards a little bit if they are enormous files, please 🙂 And remember, they should be ELHSCP or East Lothian themed.

If you want a team one like the Shared Lives one, email me or phone 01620 827 755 to let me know what you are thinking.

A number of key services are coming closer to home for people in the North Berwick area

Update on services available from the Edington from Monday

Following the temporary relocation of nursing staff from the Edington Hospital, North Berwick to East Lothian Community Hospital to help us address pressures relating to the pandemic, the Edington will bring other services closer to home for people in the eastern part of the county.

From Monday 20th September, the Edington will provide a base for:

  • An expanded Community Treatment and Access Service (CTACS)
  • Enhanced MSK and physio services
  • A local appointment-only base for Flu and Covid vaccinations

CTACS is a new way of receiving care which we launched across East Lothian last year. It’s a nurse-led service that helps ensure that people aged 18+ can see the right person in the right place at the right time. It offers ear irrigation, pre-chemo bloods, removal of sutures/staples after operations or injuries, wound care (including management of leg ulcers or wounds after surgery or injury), and B12 injections. It is open from 8.30am to 5pm – just phone 0131 446 4227 to make an appointment. This expands CTAC provision currently available in North Berwick.

We will also be offering musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy. Anyone 18+ can access this service by phoning 0300 3 690 680 between 9am and 11.30am, Monday to Friday. After an initial screening call, people will be offered a one-to-one assessment with a physio, expert support and advice, and further interventions as required. 

Our physio team will be running a physiotherapy pain management clinic too, which provides one-to-one rehabilitation sessions with an exercise professional for variety of complaints including MSK, falls and neurological conditions. These clinics were previously only delivered at the Astley Ainslie and East Lothian Community Hospital. Access to this is by GP referral.

We are also working with the North Berwick GP practice to refer people to our Exercise Fundamentals programme. “Exercise Fundamentals is a remotely provided low level class using online content supported by regular telephone contact”.

Last but not least, the Edington will host appointment-only Flu and Covid vaccination clinics.

ELHSCP Operations Manager Iain Gorman says:

‘We want to make sure that the community gets the best out of the Edington while the temporary relocation is in force so we are expanding the services that people can access locally and bringing a range of key services closer to home. These do depend on telephone assessment or GP referral, which is very important in the current climate.

‘Right across Scotland, the way urgent care is delivered is changing. There is a move away from the drop-in model to one which helps people to access the right help from the right professional at the right time. In line with this national policy, I’d like to ask people to please first call 111 if they need urgent care when it is not life threatening. This ensures people get the right care and enables appointments to be scheduled to reduce contact in our waiting rooms. In a life threatening emergency, always call 999.’

COVID greatly impacting on East Lothian Council and public services

Councillor Norman Hampshire, Depute Leader, East Lothian Council

Staff absences and other challenges resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to impact significantly on services, East Lothian Council’s Depute Leader said today.

Councillor Norman Hampshire thanked the public for their ongoing patience and understanding at a time when, despite the move beyond Level 0, the delivery of public services continues to be far from normal.

He said:

“We are, of course, pleased that the easing of restrictions has enabled people to see more of each other and enable businesses and services to open up.

“But I want to be very clear that life has still not returned to pre-pandemic ‘normal’. The success of the vaccination programme is limiting the harm being caused but infection levels remain too high – people continue to catch, and pass on the virus. And people can still become unwell.

“When people are sick, they still need to self-isolate – as do those who are identified as close contacts. While this is the right course of action, the implications are causing huge staffing pressures within the council right now.

“This is being felt in departments across the council – including Facilities Management, which has responsibilities for the cleaning of public buildings and cleaning, catering and janitorial support in schools. Education and Children’s Services, Health and Social Care and Customer Services teams are other areas under real strain – but these are just a few examples. We are also having to take decisions to adjust opening hours of facilities and sometimes at short notice.

“Council employees have carried out heroic work throughout the pandemic, including doing things differently or covering other duties, and we are extremely grateful. And I know that the communities of East Lothian are supportive, and appreciative of, these incredible efforts, at a time when our business continuity plans remain invoked.

“Unfortunately, we have not returned to ‘normality’ and if these challenges persist, we may need to take difficult decisions to temporarily scale down some non-statutory services or the way in which buildings are used, in order to focus on priority activities in a pandemic and maintain our duty of care to employees.

“Whilst this would, of course, be a last resort we need to be upfront about the scale of the current difficulties being faced across the public sector – from healthcare to local authorities.  Our focus must continue to be on maintaining critical services whilst balancing the ongoing requirements of support to test and protect and self-isolation. We are grateful to the public for their patience and kindness towards our staff, who are trying their best despite the difficulties, is very much appreciated. The road to recovery from this pandemic will be long and hard but East Lothian Council, working with our partners, continues to strive to provide the best possible services while supporting efforts to reduce case numbers.”


Councillor Hampshire also highlighted the importance of regular testing, even if people have no symptoms of COVID-19.

He added:

“I appreciate that, at a time when restrictions have been eased and aspects of life look and feel ‘normal’, people who feel that they are in good health might not see the need to get tested.

“But case numbers are still too high and it’s concerning that almost 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 don’t have any of the usual symptoms but are potentially passing the virus on to others. Getting tested – even if you feel fine and have received vaccination – means that, if positive, you can take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus, by self-isolating.

“It’s very easy to get tested in East Lothian with the availability of collection points to get tested, locations where you can take a test, or the option of getting a test kit delivered to your home. More information is available at www.eastlothian.gov.uk/testing.”

Exciting job opportunity with Changes!

Buddy Walk Project Worker

8 hours per week (split over two days) – 1 year fixed term post

£26, 975 pro rata (4% pension contribution)

To read the full job description and person specification and to apply for this job visit our website: changeschp.org.uk/join-our-team.

The job is based in Changes premises in Musselburgh, with travel across East Lothian to facilitate Buddy matches.

YWCA Scotland and SWA launch of a new survey

YWCA Scotland and SWA have announced the launch of a new survey to investigate young women’s perceptions and understanding of domestic abuse and existing support services.

This survey is open to girls and women living in Scotland (aged 12 – 25), until 5th October 2021 and can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/youngwomenrise
Please help us spread the word! Feel free to use the images and suggested text attached to promote on social media.

The survey was developed by Young Women Rise, a research and digital campaign group led by 10 young women from across Scotland supported by SWA and YWCA Scotland. This group have come together to research young women’s experiences of unhealthy relationships, domestic abuse and access to support. This survey will gather data on young women’s perceptions, awareness and understanding about domestic abuse, unhealthy relationships and existing support structures.

The data will help Scottish Women’s Aid better understand young women’s experiences and support needs. The survey will be followed by focus groups later this year.

Have your say on East Lothian Council’s Draft Equalities Plan

A consultation has been launched on East Lothian Council’s Draft Equality Plan 2021-2025.

The document has been drafted at a time of unprecedented challenge – locally, nationally and globally – caused by the COVID pandemic.  We know that there is an equality dimension to the pandemic, with women, disabled people and minority ethnic communities particularly affected. 

The Draft Equality Plan for 2021 – 2025 builds on the work of the Equality Plan 2017-2021.  It sets out the Council’s commitment to equality and shows how we comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t

The Draft Plan sets out seven high level equality outcomes that the council will work towards during 2021 – 2025 to ensure it meets its statutory duties under the Equality Act and, also to, achieve its overarching commitment to reduce inequalities within and across our communities.

The Draft Equality Plan 2021-2025 is available to download below along with the previous plan and some other background information you might find useful.

The consultation asks respondents to answer a number of questions. The draft plan can be read and responded to on the Council’s Consultation Hub.