East Lothian Community Hospital is set to offer hundreds of patients more local support, to save them having to travel into Edinburgh for medical treatment that can take as little as 20 seconds.
The £70 million Haddington hospital, which officially opened its doors months before Covid shut down the country, has already seen the number of local outpatients passing through its doors reach 50,000 a year, compared to the 30,000 who were seen at its predecessor Roodlands Hospital in the town.
Now it is planning to double the capacity of its UV phototherapy unit which helps patients with skin conditions receive treatment without having to travel into the city.
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The popular treatment can involve up to 15 patients coming twice a week for up to 12 weeks, each of which last between 20 seconds to 600 seconds.
In the past people would have to travel into Edinburgh for the brief sessions but with nearly 100 patients now being seen at the East Lothian hospital, plans are underway to double its capacity and increase specialist nurse training.
Lorraine Cowan, chief nurse at the hospital, says the service is one of many changing lives of people in East Lothian.
She said: “The phototherapy treatments are in demand and can improve conditions for many people with the advantage that they do not have to travel to Lauriston buildings in Edinburgh for a treatment that can take just seconds to administer.”
East Lothian Community Hospital opened its outpatients department in March 2018 ahead of the opening of its main building in November 2019.
The state of the art facility was built on the grounds of the former Roodlands Hospital in the town and saw outpatients expand in numbers and services.
All departments in the new hospital are bustling with a wide range of endoscopy and minor procedures carried out. In a 12-month period the hospital saw 3,500 gastroenterology patients, 425 Urology patients, 360 gynaecology patients, 450 minor lumps, bumps, and vasectomies as well as 400 ear, nose and throat scopes.
Facilities include six wards with 132 single bedrooms with ensuite facilities, a dementia ward, an endoscopy suite and a mental health unit.
When it officially opened the two wards on the top floor were kept vacant for future expansion and population growth/demand.
However ward five opened in December 2019 to help provide short term winter support for other parts of the Lothians and has been in use ever since.
Ward six is currently home to residents from Belhaven Hospital, Dunbar, who were temporarily moved out of their normal residence while an investigation into water quality was carried out and remedial work undertaken.
East Lothian Community Hospital is the first hospital in Scotland to use a new process called Electronic Observation (eObs) on the existing patient TRAKCare monitoring system.
The eObs system allows nurses to record routine patient information from blood pressure to temperature during ward rounds and flags up any areas of concerns for any individual.
And because it feeds into the TrakCare system it allows medical teams across the hospital to be alerted to any patient whose condition may be deteriorating or need intervention and exactly where they are in the hospital.
Gillian McAuley, Acute Nurse director for NHS Lothian said of the new system: “This is a great step forward for NHS Lothian.
“It means staff can track deteriorating patients electronically by calculating what’s called the National Early Warning Score.
“This then prompts the staff member to ensure the patient receives the correct frequency of observations, which can be accessed remotely to support decision-making.
“It also means that there is robust electronic escalation and response recording. The system will improve the oversight of deteriorating patients and ensure that recognition and response is timely.”
And chief nurse Lorraine believes there is a lot more to come for the hospital as it comes out of the pandemic.
She said: “We haven’t reached our full potential because of Covid but I think things have been taking off over the last few months and it is starting to take shape.
”The future for the hospital is very exciting.”
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