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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

East Lothian Council Election 2022: Residents concern over hospital ward closure

The closure of the local community hospital's only ward has dominated conversation in North Berwick Coastal ward for the last eight months.

East Lothian health bosses transferred staff from the ward to Haddington Community Hospital last September in a temporary move aimed at tackling staff shortages.

However there is anger at the continued closure of the ward and one local GP has said that people who have died at home from cancer since it shut "would have benefited from its support" in their final days.

READ MORE: East Lothian Council election 2022: Musselburgh healthcare issues top the agenda

The ward has the highest population of people over the age of 65 living in it compared to the rest of the county with just over 26% of residents in their later years.

However its reputation as a retirement community brought unwelcome interest from a private company keen to build a 152-bed care village on the edge of the town itself.

Hundreds of residents signed a petition against the proposals which were described as a "ghetto" and after plans were rejected by the council and then Scottish Ministers it seems their voices were heard.

2017 election results

  1. Jeremy Findlay (Conservative) 27.16% FPv (1,703 total)
  2. JIm Goodfellow (Labour) 23.73% FPv (1,573 total)
  3. Jane Henderson (Conservative) 21.38% FPv (1,589 total)

2022 candidates

Conservative candidate Judy Lockhart-Hunter has already made headlines after it was revealed she started a petition to ban Syrian refugees from Scotland seven years ago. She has apologised and received the backing of Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross MSP saying she regretted the action and was "a lot less worldy wise" when she did it.

She is standing alongside sitting Conservative councillor Jeremy Findlay. The Conservatives are the only party fielding more than one candidate in the ward and they have good reason - they returned two councillors in 2017. Councillor Jane Henderson has decided not to stand again.

Veteran Labour councillor Jim Goodfellow who was the third elected member for the three-seat ward, has also stepped down from his role.

Both UKIP and the Scottish Family Party have candidates standing in the election with Labour, the SNP, Greens and Liberal Democrats all putting forward one candidate each.

Full list of candidates standing in North Berwick Coastal ward

Liz Allan (Scottish National Party)
Alison Carter (Scottish Family Party)
Jacq Cottrell (Scottish Green Party)
George Henry Cowen (UKIP)
Jeremy Findlay (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Judy Lockhart-Hunter (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Carol McFarlane (Scottish Labour Party)
Stuart Smith (Scottish Liberal Democrats)

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