Meet Alison who manages the Emergency Care Service at East Lothian Council.

Alison Gowrie works as a Care Support Organiser for the Emergency Care Service (ECS). She joined in February 2017. Prior to starting with East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, she worked with City of Edinburgh Council as a Team Leader, first in libraries which she loved and then Housing Support and Sheltered Housing.

As part of her role with Sheltered Housing she worked closely with Edinburgh’s Falls Team and really admired the service they gave to the community. Therefore she was delighted when she accepted the position to work as Care support Organiser with ECS at East Lothian.

ECS was set up on 31st January 2011 from the old Crisis Care team and has now grown to include 22 very diligent and dedicated staff members. ECS is part of the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership based in East Lothian Community Hospital.

Alison said: “The ECS team delivers a 24-hour support service for all adults anywhere in East Lothian, responding to calls made through personal alarms pendants, wristbands and telecare systems, for example, door sensors, fall detectors as well as self-referrals from people who do not have an alarm system installed in their home. If you ever want to know where a street is in East Lothian ask us. I doubt there is a street, lane or farm path that we have not travelled in all weather conditions!”

The ECS service has two teams. ECS 1 has one Care worker who provides short-term (no more than 2 weeks) support service to clients to prevent their admission to hospital. This includes early intervention to prevent escalation of situations as well as one off visits that only require a single carer. The second team, ECS 2 works in pairs, answering emergency calls. They also provide some short term support to clients to prevent hospital admissions.

Alison said: “We are increasingly supporting people who are at the end of their life and wish to die at home. While this can be a distressing aspect of our job it is equally rewarding knowing we have helped and allowed their wishes to be carried out, kept them as comfortable as possible and helped to support their families. ECS adopts a holistic and collaborative approach when supporting a client, working with several agencies to look for ways to increase the safety of a person in their home and checking on their wellbeing to prevent further falls and prevent admission to hospital.”

Alison said: “Last year ECS 1 provided over 2400 visits to 302 clients. ECS 2 responded to over 7600 calls of which over 1700 were from people who had fallen and could not get up themselves.”

“Throughout COVID it has been business as usual for ECS. We have continued to provide our 24/7 service adopting all safety guidelines and procedures, particularly when a client has been tested Covid positive.  Staff have rallied round to cover shifts for colleagues who were required to self-isolate in order to maintain services. I am very proud of the ECS staff team and the services and care we provide.”

“We all enjoy the fact that we never know what a day will bring and what situation we will encounter when we are called out but I am always confident that the service we provide will be professional and caring and will relieve the stresses for someone in a crisis situation. I thoroughly enjoy my job supporting the ECS team to provide assistance to people who for one reason or another are in a distressed state and need help.”

“We receive many “Thank yous” and letters of appreciation for the service we have provided but one card we received recently from the family of a lady we cared for to allow her to die at home touched us all. It included:

“To arrive at any time of night, attend so kindly to my wife then head off in to the night to attend to someone else in a similar position left me in awe. Thanks to the Emergency Care Team whose work goes largely unseen through the night, every night and every day we will never forget all you did for us at our very difficult time.”





Published: Friday, 27th August 2021