Data Protection and Corona Virus

We all share the same concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The need for public bodies and health practitioners to be able to communicate directly with people when dealing with this type of health emergency has never been greater.

Data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop Government, the NHS or any other health professionals from sending public health messages to people, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing. Nor does it stop them using the latest technology to facilitate safe and speedy consultations and diagnoses. Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.

The ICO is a reasonable and pragmatic regulator, one that does not operate in isolation from matters of serious public concern. Regarding compliance with data protection, we will take into account the compelling public interest in the current health emergency.

The safety and security of the public remains our primary concern. The ICO and our colleagues in the public sector have this at the forefront of our minds at this time. We are here to help our colleagues on the frontline. We can offer advice to make sure the law around data protection and direct marketing is clear. Information is available on our website or you can call our helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Arrangements for visiting care homes, resource centres, day centres and lunch clubs

Care homes in East Lothian

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership is implementing Scottish Government guidance for COVID-19/coronavirus and, from Thursday 19th March 2020, is restricting visiting times to residents at The Abbey, Crookston and Eskgreen Care Homes to Wednesdays and Sundays:

  • 2pm to 3pm
  • 7pm to 8pm.

We ask that only one person visits during these times, no one under the age of 12 years and if you have any underlying health conditions, are over 70 years old or feel unwell in any way, please do not visit. Families will be supported to access the homes at other times if residents needs’ change or circumstances change.

If your relative or friend is at a privately-operated care home or nursing home, please phone them direct to find out what restrictions they have in place.

Resource, Day Centres and Lunch Clubs

We need to follow public health guidance to ensure ‘social distancing’ for our most vulnerable service-users. East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership has reached a decision to suspend the provision of community support and ‘day hospitals’ temporarily from 23 March 2020.  We have written out to services-users and carers to let them know.

This decision also reflects what is happening in other Lothian Health and Social Care partnerships.

We are making arrangements with day centre staff and others to monitor and support people who use our services to offset the effects of the closure of day services.

Arrangements will be made with the Resource Centre staff and others to provide support and to monitor clients to mitigate the effects of the closure of day services, ensuing priority clients have an individual support plan.

Services include:

  • Tynebank, Port Seton and Fisherrow Resource Centres
  • Day Centres
  • Lunch Clubs

We know that many individual day centres and lunch clubs are making arrangements with their service-users for support while the clubs are closed.  Please speak to your day centre or lunch club about their plans.

Our home meals delivery service continues to operate as normal.

Message from the Care Inspectorate

COVID-19 update

I would like to provide an update on how the Care Inspectorate is responding through our contingency planning to the COVID-19 situation.

I’d also like to thank all providers, our social care workforce, and public servants for the work you are doing to protect vulnerable people. The coming weeks and months are going to test us all and I want you to know we are fully committed to supporting all those who provide health and social care services, in order to keep people safe, during this global health emergency. In the Care Inspectorate we have a varied and experienced group of staff and we will be considering how they can help, advise and guide services directly in coming days and weeks.

Over the past week we have taken the decision to scale down our inspections during this time and put in place arrangements which will involve gathering information, assessing the level of risk in care services and establishing assurances about the quality of care people experience. We are only making visits to services when absolutely necessary. We are also operating in a similar manner around complaints.

We intend to be flexible around our registration practice where we may have to register different facilities as time goes on. We will prioritise our registration work to support the national response and the sustainability of services.

At this extremely challenging time, we will support services in their need to apply flexibility and judgement around staffing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people experiencing care. We recognise that services will need to be creative and make use of a wider range of resources, including potentially staff from other public services and volunteers.

Over recent days, we have issued guidance for all registered care services including early learning and childcare services informing them of the changes we have introduced. I would encourage you to work with your staff to consider what this means in your specific setting and the potential impact it will have on your work.

Guidance and information

We have created a coronavirus COVID-19 page on our website, which we are updating continuously. Currently, it includes information on notifications, staffing levels and registration.

We are also providing regular updates on Twitter, Facebook and in our Provider Updates newsletter, which we are currently sending to all registered care services along with subscribers. I encourage you to follow us on social media and to subscribe to our free e-newsletters service, ensuring you tick the Provider Updates preference when you do so here:

Getting in touch

If you have any concerns, or need any additional guidance, I would ask you to get in touch with your Care Inspectorate contact, who will be able to help you in the usual way. In line with wider public health developments, we will continue to provide updates on our activities at, our social media channels, and through our customer contact centre, on 0345 600 952.

We will review our activity in the weeks ahead and we will continue to support you and people who experience care.

Yours faithfully

Peter Macleod

Chief Executive

Team spirit, flexibility and determination to put our service-users first is what will see us through

I wanted to say that I know we are in for a challenging time with COVID-19 and thank you in advance for the enormous effort you I know you will put in.

We have taken part in a lot of emergency planning exercises, rehearsing all kinds of disasters, and we have coped really well in actual emergencies like the ‘Beast from the East’, albeit this is a different challenge that will last significantly longer and could affect us on a personal level as well as in our professional roles. Team spirit, flexibility and determination to put our service-users first is what will see us through.

We will keep you up to date with the rapidly changing situation. We are already working closely with our providers to ensure that their business continuity planning is able to meet the specific risks that COVID-19 presents to the services they provide, too.

Please stay safe, stay well (if you can) and know that East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and our service-users and their carers appreciate every ounce of the effort that you put in for them.

Thank you.



Practices in East Lothian are following guidance shared by NHS Scotland and Public Health authorities to minimise risks associated with COVID-19/coronavirus

They are asking for your support to protect patients and staff.

Before you contact your practice, consider checking for advice about corona virus and any other health problems. 

Most patients with symptoms of corona virus will not need assessment and will be able to manage their symptoms at home, following the advice on NHS Inform website.

New appointments

  • Do not go to your practice unless you have been asked to do so by practice staff
  • Do telephone your practice to request an appointment, telling them about your medical need.
  • Expect to be asked questions about your symptoms before any appointment is arranged
  • You may be offered a consultation by phone
  • If you do need a face-to-face appointment, this will be arranged
  • If you need a corona virus assessment, they will ask you to self-isolate for 7 days

Existing appointments

  • Practice clinical teams are reviewing all pre-existing appointments
  • If they think your appointment is not urgent, they may reschedule it for a later date
  • If your appointment needs to go ahead, the practice will offer you a phone consultation, wherever possible
  • Your practice’s admin team will contact you if your appointment is cancelled or changed to a telephone appointment
  • If you need a face-to-face appointment, they will ask you some screening questions to make sure that it is appropriate for you to attend
  • Please try to order repeat prescriptions online.

Access to medical centres

You should only go to your medical practice if you have been invited to do so by a clinician at your practice.

  • People who have not been invited will be asked to leave
  • Only patients with appointments will be allowed into medical practices
  • If you are a parent/guardian/carer, you may be able to attend with the person you care for – please check
  • Remember to use the hand sanitiser provided when entering the building or wash your hands in the patient toilets.

Thank you. We appreciate your co-operation and support

NHS Inform is an excellent source of up to date information.

Interim management arrangements for East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership

General Managers

The title Group Service Manager has been replaced by General Manager. This is in line with other HSCPs and describes more accurately the role of the senior managers responsible for our services.

Myself and Iain Gorman Head of Operations (Deputy to Chief Officer) and the General Managers have discussed and agreed the following for an initial period of six months.

Chief Officer Alison Macdonald will continue to line manage:

  • General Manager Acute and Ongoing Care – Lorraine Cowan
  • General Manager Rehabilitation – Lesley Berry
  • Interim General Manager Strategic Integration – Paul Currie
  • Interim General Manager – Planning and Performance/COVID Budget Holder – Laura Kerr

Head of Operations Iain Gorman will line manage:

  • General Manager Adult Social Work – Rona Laskowski
  • General Manager Statutory Services – Trish Carlyle
  • General Manager Adult Community Services/Mental Health and Learning Disabilities – Gillian Neil
  • General Manager Planning and Performance – Laura Kerr
  • General Manager Strategic Integration – Paul Currie

Professional Leads

The professional leads – Chief Nurse, Chief Social Work Officer, Clinical Director and lead AHP – will continue to report directly to the Chief Officer in line with the agreements in the Scheme of Integration

Reporting arrangements to General Managers

There will be no changes to current reporting arrangements for HSCP teams who report to the relevant General Manager.

Social Work Pathway

There is an out standing commitment to reviewing the social work path way and we are committed to progressing this work, reporting to Core Management Team (CMT) and the Strategic Planning Group for information.

The review of the social work pathway will need to be completed by early June

Revising the management structure
A revised management structure is being considered to accommodate these new ways of working; this is yet be finalised. This has led us to make a choice to have interim arrangements in place to ensure that when we, with you, have worked through any new arrangements the management structure can adapt to accommodate.

A number of options need to be considered in relation to the work around Adult Protection, Community Justice, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities.

Trish will continue in the post General Manager – Statutory Services:

  • Justice social work services
  • Community Justice
  • Carers though this will transition into the social work area at a later date anticipated following the procurement arrangements for carer services
  • SDS to be mapped into the customer journey with Rod continuing to have an operational lead
  • SW lead developing SW Governance arrangements

Rona will assume the post General Manager – Adult Social Work:

  • Assessment and Review
  • Social Work Journey
  • Care Home Team
  • Duty Team
  • SDS

In the interim there will need to be shared management put in place for some elements but we will keep you updated as things change.