COVID-19 information on NHS inform in alternative formats

NHS 24/Inform is providing alternative formats to help people with communication differences access COVID-19 information:

The Browsealoud tool helps users access information on NHS inform by: reading this aloud, highlighting and magnifying text, creating audio files. Find out more here:

Brand new communication channels

We’ve developed new tools, giving people a choice of how to get the COVID-19 information they need:

  • chat bot: ask COVID questions directly on the website: This is an automated service. Users who can’t find the information they need will be offered the option to start a webchat
  • NHS 24 COVID app: available to download free from the App Store and Google Play. This includes the COVID-19 symptom checker and COVID-19 information from NHS inform
  • webchat: option offered to people who call the COVID helpline (0800 028 2816)
  • voice bot: automated voice option lets people who don’t use the internet access the coronavirus
  • self-help guide. This is available by phoning the NHS inform helpline (0800 22 44 88)

Getting COVID-19 information over the phone

People with communication differences can access the COVID-19 helpline (and all other NHS 24 phone services) in a number of ways:

  • people whose first or preferred language is not English can use Language Line (a free over the phone interpreting service). Find out more here:
  • D/deaf and Deafblind British Sign Language (BSL) users can use contact SCOTLAND-BSL (a free BSL interpreting video relay service). Find out more here:
  • people with hearing and speech differences can use Relay UK (a national relay service accessible via textphone or the Relay UK app). Find out more here:

See toolkit here.

Phased return?

Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis

‘As I said last week, we can’t live this way forever. We all want to get back to some semblance of normality – whether that’s seeing our friends and family, getting back to work or school, or just being able to spend our free time in the way we want to.

‘This document sets out the steps that will take us there. It doesn’t have all the answers and it doesn’t set exact timescales. That’s because we are still learning about the virus. We will have to move carefully and gradually to ensure we keep it under control and develop the best ways of doing so.’

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Read the Route Map document here.

First Connected Communities e-bulletin

From Lorraine Congalton, Community Development Officer, ELC

Hi there

I hope you are all well in these uncertain times.

Please find the link below to our first Connected Communities e-bulletin.  This first bulletin will focus on youth services and information to support mental wellbeing.

Please share round your networks.

Many thanks


Lorraine Congalton
Community Development Officer
 07976 596 112

STV filming at Eskgreen

STV’s Laura’s Laura Alderman were interviewing Clair, Suzanne and Sarah about life in Eskgreen during lockdown this afternoon for a piece for STV News at Six to broadcast next week.

New CEO for Carers of East Lothian

Jess Wade, COEL’s new CEO

After seven years as CEO of COEL, Andrew Tweedie left in April to take up a new post as CEO of the Royal Society for the Support of Women of Scotland

Introducing Jess – the new CEO of Carers of East Lothian

Jess Wade has been appointed the new chief executive officer of Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) and Company Secretary, following an open and competitive selection process.

Jess brings to the organisation a wealth of knowledge and skills from working in the Scottish voluntary sector since 2004, with particular expertise in project management and strategic planning. She was previously manager at the umbrella charity Self Directed Support Scotland (SDSS).

Jess is currently a Board Member of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), Barony Housing Association and Home-Start Edinburgh West and South-West. She is also a long-term human rights activist and campaigner, a mother of two, and, growing up in Liverpool, a committed Beatles fan.

Jess says:

“I am delighted to be heading CoEL as we continue to provide support to carers in these challenging times. I look forward to working with colleagues across health and social care and in partner agencies, as well as carers themselves, to make life better for carers and the people they care for now and in the future.”

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Jess added:

“CoEL is providing information, advice and emotional support to carers over the telephone. We are also assisting carers with welfare rights issues and benefits applications. Please call us on 0131 665 0135 if you care for someone else and need help. We have a carer support worker available Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, to respond to new enquiries.”

Congratulating Jess on her appointment, Carers of East Lothian Chair, David Binnie says:

“I am thrilled that Jess has joined CoEL and look forward to working with her. I am confident she will relish the new challenges and use her experience and skills to inspire the staff team. Together they will continue to develop quality services and provide essential support to unpaid carers across East Lothian.”

Contact Jess at:                  
0131 653 1056 (direct line)
07810 541 634

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s CWIC Team launch new Mental Health line

East Lothian Health and Social Care Primary Care Clinical Lead Alastair Clubb says:

‘These are very challenging times and we know there are many people finding it hard at the moment. There are a lot of extra pressures right now for people, including additional caring responsibilities, and worries about money or work. People may also be struggling because they are cut off from family or friends. As a result, we’re aware that people may feel anxious or depressed, and unsure of where to turn for help.

‘That’s why we set up the CWIC Mental Health Line. We have established one number for everyone across the county to speak with a specialist Mental Health Practitioner and get support. We are working closely with GP surgeries to make sure people get support from the right person at the right time.’

The new ELHSCP Mental Health line is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.  You don’t need a referral from a GP or other clinical professional to use it.  It’s for anyone aged 18 and over.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed or have other worries about your mental health, call us on 01620 642 963 between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. An experienced worker will take your details and make an appointment for you to speak to a specialist mental health practitioner, who will ring you back at a at time that is convenient for you within the next 36 hours. The practitioner will assess you over the phone, and provide help and support and sometimes a referral on to other services.

This service is not designed for:

· people already being seen regularly by a Community Mental Health Nurse in the  Community Mental Health Team

· people who are experiencing a mental health emergency—in this case, please phone your GP or emergency mental health support immediately.

Alastair adds:

‘The lockdown experience, along with the everyday stresses of life, can be very difficult to deal with and really affect your mood and emotions. We have an experienced team of Mental Health Practitioners who can offer support and advice to improve your well-being, so if you’re finding it hard to cope we would encourage you to give us a ring.’