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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Healthcare

Dr G. Kennedy practised medicine in Tranent from 1966-90 [see also Healthcare for the Local Community, 1966-1990]

The Tranent practice covered Ormiston and Pencaitland as well; in 1951 it was a four-doctor partnership. By 1966, we were supported by a secretary and four part-time receptionists in Tranent...The other single-handed practitioner in Tranent joined our group, reducing night work and weekend duties considerably, but the on-call doctor was very busy. By 1990 the practice had increased to nine doctors...

Tranent and Ormiston were mining towns when I started in practice, but by the late 1960s the mines were closing down and both towns were changing in character. Tranent in particular was becoming a dormitory town for Edinburgh and enlarging due to a large amount of private building around the periphery of the town. The custom-built surgeries soon became too small...by the late 1970s a Health Centre was built in Tranent...There was...accommodation for health visitors, district nurses, a physiotherapist and a chiropodist. By 1990 the Health Centre had to be extended when the partnership was increased to nine...

the practice nurse gradually became much more involved taking blood, syringing ears, and assisting in minor surgical procedures...By the 1980s she was running an asthma clinic, obesity clinic and interviewing new patients...

By the 1970s the elderly in the practice were increasing and when they became dependant they were not as readily looked after by the family as they had been in my early days in practice. 'Old Folks Homes' were built to help the situation...

There were already many chest problems in the mining community such as pneumoconiosis and cigarette smoking added to these problems. We had a large number of patients with bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial carcinoma...During the 1970s and 1980s bronchial carcinoma was occurring in the female population, which co-related with their increasing tobacco smoking...

And Dr A. Davies (1990-2000) [see also General Practice in East Lothian, 1990-2000]

...Health Centre with six surgeries and rooms for practice nurses, health visitors, midwives and community psychiatric nurses. Another wing of the health centre has a chiropody room and rooms for children's clinics. The emergency overnight service for west East Lothian also operates from this wing...

Work in surgeries continues, looking after ill patients, many of whom are discharged from hospital early on many drugs and who need a lot of attention. Use of day-surgery means increased vigilance and significant numbers of patients need readmitted...Our area has a high incidence of heart disease and stroke and diabetes (national average is 2%, ours is 10%), and cancer continues with levels of lung cancer in women approaching that of men...

There is a move to deal with mental illness in the community. The consultants hold clinics in most practice premises and community psychiatric nurses are attached to small areas...Maternity work continues but with less input from GPs and more from midwives...mothers are now referred to the only maternity unit in Edinburgh, the Simpson Maternity Hospital. The consultants run satellite clinics in the community. There is a small and consistent request for home deliveries; some GPs have no part in this. The midwives will handle these cases if deemed appropriate. Some mothers elect for domino delivery - delivery in hospital with their own community midwife, and then within a few hours, go home. Fathers are involved much more now, often attending scan investigations and delivery. Most GPs and midwives run antenatal clinics...

Health visitors now give the childhood immunisations. Recent controversy about the link of childhood autism to the MMR vaccine is a problem. In Scotland, immunisation rates have not fallen much. Successes have been with the introduction of vaccines against Haemophilius influenza and Meningitis C...

In general, children are very healthy but there is a new incidence of asthma and severe allergies e.g. to peanuts. Use of antibiotics has reduced in children. Most illnesses previously treated with antibiotics are viral and self-limiting.

School children are bigger and more inactive and less sporty. The diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and the subsequent treatment with Ritalin (methylphenidate) a close relative of amphetamine, is a worry. Even the experts can't tell us how far into adulthood this treatment should continue.

In summary, medical practice in the 1990s is expanding and is becoming more team-orientated to promote good health.

Social care

Women's contributions to the community have continued. Provost Margaret Kerr and Mrs Margaret Glennie were the prime movers behind the lunch club, an idea that Tranent was among the first East Lothian communities to embrace. Forty or so representatives attended a meeting called by the social work department in 1972; all supported the proposal, and financial support was forthcoming, for example the pigeon racing club donated money for fuel for transport. The lunch club was initially held at the rear of the old council offices, then evolved into the day centre, moving in the mid 1980s to the current premises in the old Co-op building. Mary Johnson, a leading figure behind this last move, was awarded an MBE for her work.

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