Martin Whitfield MSP has raised the ongoing closure of Edington Hospital’s only ward with the newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Michael Matheson.

Speaking in parliament, the South Scotland MSP asked the new minister what discussions he has had since March this year with NHS Lothian and local groups regarding the reopening of the hospital. In his reply, Mr Matheson said that his officials had last discussed the Edington in March but did not offer any further details.

Mr Whitfield used his follow-up question to ask if Mr Matheson would attend the meeting with local groups arranged by East Lothian’s constituency MSP for later this month. However, the new Health Secretary said he did not even know this meeting was happening before passing the buck to the local health and social care partnership.

Speaking after his questions, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Despite their best efforts, North Berwick residents and campaigners were unable to obtain a straight answer on the Edington Hospital from former Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, who has now washed his hands of the issue.

“Unfortunately, despite the appointment of a new Health Secretary, the Scottish Government’s apathy and evasion on the Edington seems to be unchanged, as Mr Matheson’s vague and unhelpful answers to my questions demonstrated.

“The fact that he was not even aware of the meeting organised by his colleague Paul McLennan highlights the lack of cohesion in the SNP government’s approach to the issue. Their strategy is clearly to just keep kicking the can down the road and pass the buck to someone else.

“That was not acceptable in September 2021 and remains unacceptable now, and I will keep pressing for a resolution to the workforce and funding issues that necessitated the hospital’s closure in the first place.”

Mr Whitfield’s questions and the Cabinet Secretary’s responses can be watched here.