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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Healthcare

There have been no healthcare facilities based in the parish throughout this period; there is no resident doctor, dentist, district nurse, health visitor, or home help.

Country wines were produced in the parish, otherwise little alcohol would be kept in the house, perhaps a little for medicinal purposes.

Margaret McCormack

Parish residents registered with GPs in Haddington, Tranent or Ormiston as these are on bus routes; the Ormiston practice has now merged with that in Tranent. Home visits by GPs are now mainly in emergencies; further treatment required (perhaps by nurses or therapists) is arranged through the practice, and usually takes place in the surgery, although home visits are arranged when necessary.

There were no special fears of illnesses in the parish, but perhaps more awareness of the possibility of accidents on the farms. Advice would be sought from family and neighbours and a doctor only called as a last resort in the 1940s and 1950s, before the National Health Service became fully established. Once people were more mobile they were more prepared to visit a doctor.

Home helps are arranged through GPs and local social services as required. Hospital referrals were usually to Roodlands Hospital in Haddington when it became a general hospital in the 1950s. It lost many of its facilities, including accident and emergency in the 1980s. The Vert Maternity Hospital in Haddington closed in 1974 and the Edinburgh Eastern General Hospital Maternity Unit in 1998. Maternity services are now provided either at the Simpson Maternity unit in central Edinburgh, or the Borders General Hospital or in Berwick. Antenatal care is available through doctors' practices.

In earlier times, mothers would often wait until they were sure of a pregnancy before visiting a doctor for confirmation. In the 1940s most births were at home, although a larger number than previously were going to the Vert Hospital in Haddington. This trend towards use of the Vert continued in the 1950s and 1960s until the hospital closed in 1974. From the 1970s most mothers had to go to Edinburgh, often choosing the nearer Eastern General Hospital but when this closed in 1998 it left only the Simpson Maternity Hospital. This is still the case although more mothers are now opting for the Borders General Hospital, and Berwick, and of course there will still be the occasional home birth. The most significant change over the years in childbirth has been in the role of the father, who is now far more involved than in the past, attending antenatal and parenting classes, being there at the birth and attending to the baby. People have to travel to these classes as they are not available in the village. Stays in hospital are now much shorter, with many mothers returning home very shortly after the birth. Unless there are complications it is very unlikely for a mother to stay in hospital for any length of time, unlike in the past when a week to ten days was not unusual. Following the birth the health visitor usually calls, but for routine weighing etc. of the baby mothers are expected to attend the clinic associated with the doctor's surgery.

Along with the national trend, there is likely to be some use of soft drugs.

There is no provision for elderly or disabled people in the parish. Volunteers provide transport to a lunch club at Humbie on Wednesdays. Regular deliveries of meals-on-wheels have been discontinued recently, and those requiring this service get deliveries of frozen meals and microwave ovens. One housebound resident in the village has a series of home helps who provide services, but none of these people live locally. Specialised support services and any adaptations to houses are generally supplied through the local council, but neighbours provide a good deal of general support.

Childcare was usually provided within the family or by neighbours until about 20 years ago. As more mothers returned to work in the 1980s and 1990s the demand for paid childcare increased and there were several childminders in the parish. As the regulation of childcare was tightened up in the late 1990s the number of childminders has declined. In 2000 there is one registered childminder in East Saltoun.

I can care for three children under five, and two between five and eight in my own home; the premises have to meet health & safety regulations, and I and my family are checked out by the police.

Christine Gillies

Childminding, and family support were the only childcare available until the playgroup started.

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