Speaking during a members’ debate at Holyrood initiated by fellow South Scotland MSP Craig Hoy, Martin Whitfield MSP joined cross-party contributions on the importance of the Edington Hospital to the local community and the need for it to fully re-open as soon as possible.
Mr Whitfield highlighted the significant community support for the hospital that has been expressed throughout North Berwick since the temporary closure of its inpatient community ward and redeployment of staff to East Lothian Community Hospital back in September.
He also outlined the frustrations felt about the way the decision was made and how campaigners have had to fight for information about the closure and the subsequent NHS Lothian Gold Command review.
Speaking after the debate, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“This debate was a welcome opportunity to put the ongoing situation at the Edington centre stage in Parliament. It also ensured that the Health Secretary had to come and respond to the various questions MSPs and local campaigners have been raising for months.
“There was a significant degree of cross-party consensus on the key issues surrounding the closure and the hospital’s future. This included the lack of community consultation and transparency surrounding the initial decision and the recent review, which even Mr Yousaf had to acknowledge.
“The debate also provided an opportunity for wider points on a number of other crucial issues to be raised. These included funding and staffing problems at NHS Lothian, which actually go to the heart of the problem at the Edington.
“Following this important debate, I hope that the Health Secretary will be more focused on what is happening at the Edington and on helping to resolve both the current crisis and the hospital’s long term future.”