East Lothian Psychiatry Team

Welcome to the East Lothian Psychiatry Team. We hope you will find your time with us enjoyable, interesting and educational.

- General Adult Psychiatry (GAP) deals with patients without a Learning Disability (IQ over 70) from 18 to 65 years
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) deals with all patients under 18 years
- Learning Disability Psychiatry (LDP) deals with adults with IQ


Specialities within Psychiatry

Psychiatry of the Older Adults

The POA Community Mental Health Team is based in the North Offices at ELCH. Our 20 bedded inpatient ward, Oak Tree, is also location in ELCH. If you have a placement with us, please contact Dr Grove (meroe.grove@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk) prior to your placement. Dr Grove works Tuesday to Friday, so good days to spend with the team are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

We hope during your placement, that you will get a wide range of experience. There are opportunities for both in and outpatient work, urgent assessments, liaison reviews (in the medical wards of ELCH) and nursing home clinics. Informal teaching will occur throughout your placement and we actively encourage you to spend time with different members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team such as CPN's, OT's and Activity Coordinators. If you wished to spend some time with one of the other specialities such as Substance Misuse, we would be happy to support and would encourage you to arrange well in advance.

General Adult Psychiatry

GAP inpatients are primarily in Hermitage Ward, Royal Edinburgh Hospital (REH) although patients may be boarded onto other wards in the hospital. We share Hermitage ward with our colleagues in Midlothian Mental Health Team.

The are is served by four consultant Psychiatrists who care for patients in areas of East Lothian.

  • Dr Basel Switzer - North Berwick, Gullane, Prestonpans, Port Seton

  • Locum Psychiatrist - Musselburgh

  • Dr Milner-White - Tranent, Ormiston, East Linton, Dunbar

  • Dr John Ferguson - Haddington (no medical student allocation)

Clinics are currently face to face or via telephone or on Near Me but there are ways in which you can attend virtually as a conference call or being invited into the videocall.

We hope you will get the opportunity to attend some of these outpatient clinics as per your timetable, please arrange this with the consultant whose clinic you will be attending well in advance.

Community Mental Health Team

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

The CMHT has Community Mental Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Support Workers and Peer Support Workers.

We have access to physiotherapy and music therapy.

Psychological Therapy Session

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

This team is composed of Psychologists and Psychological Therapists and offers a range of therapies including individual, e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT), Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and a group work for a range of disorders.

Intensive Home Treatment Team

9am to midday, 7 days a week

The IHTT is based in East Lothian Community Hospital. The IHTT works with all 4 consultant teams, offering rapid assessments in cased where referrals are urgent, offering intensive home treatment to patients who may otherwise require admission to hospital and working closely with the inpatient unit to facilitate early discharge from hospital. The IHTT has a weekly meeting with the consultant teams on a Tuesday afternoon at 3pm.


Hermitage Ward

If your placement is a General Adult placement, you should contact the General Adult Pyschiatrist you are placed with (email addresses at the foot of the page) to arrange where you need to be. This is likely to be on Hermitage Ward at 8:45am on the Monday of your placement.

On your ward days with GAP you will be expected to attend the rapid rundown on Hermitage Ward from 9am. You will from this be able to establish if there are any patients who would be amenable to be interviewed and be kept up to date with the progress of patients on the ward.

Ward rounds take place for each consultant, usually twice per week. This will be clear from information on the wall in the office on Hermitage. This is a valuable learning opportunity. You will be expected to present some of the patients you have been interviewing during your time on the ward.

It is important you attend all meetings and ward rounds. You are encouraged to spend as much time as possible interviewing patients. A guide to psychiatric interview is also attached to your welcome emails. Staff will direct you as to which patients are suitable. By the end of your attachment you should feel confident in interviewing people whose ability to cooperate is restricted by a psychiatric illness.


The bulk of teaching occurs in ward rounds and outpatient clinics. There are sometimes gaps in the clinic which can be used for a mini tutorial or for you to give a case presentation to your consultant. Asking questions or raising points is always welcome.

Tutorials as per your timetable issued by the Medical School will usually be Thursday and Friday PM.

On Thursdays 12:30pm to 1:30pm on MS Teams there will be a presentation by a psychiatric trainee of an interesting or challenging case which we would encourage you to attend. This again is a valuable opportunity to see complex psychiatric cases and the management of them by experienced psychiatrists.

We hope you enjoy your time with us and feel free to ask if you have a question.

The timetable is a guide but if you have a particular interest in a sub-speciality of psychiatry and wish to spend more time there, please feel free to arrange this. We would encourage you to take the opportunity to arrange time with other sub-specialities outwith GAP and POA, as this will broaden your experience of the speciality.


Useful contacts

GAP Hermitage Ward, REH

  • Dr Basel Switzer - basel.switzer@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

  • Dr Milner-White - douglas.milner-white@nhslothian.scot.nhs.ik

POA - North Office, ELCH

  • Dr M Grove - meroe.grove@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Substance Misuse Service, Esk Centre, Musselburgh

  • Dr Wendy Hale - wendy.hale@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk