South Scotland

NHS Borders financial fears taken to Holyrood

Borders General Hospital Image copyright MJ Richardson

Concerns about the impact on hospital care caused by a health board's financial difficulties have been raised in the Scottish Parliament.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame said that even after a £10m bailout from the Scottish government - with another to come - NHS Borders was making cuts.

She asked if there was more that could be done to help the situation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the government would work with the board to ensure there was no effect on patients.

Ms Grahame said the impact of the board's financial plight was already being felt.

'Serious concerns'

"The gynaecological ward is already closing and the switch board covering 20 wards - pharmacy and so-on - is on a so-called 'hitlist' with calls possibly being processed from Edinburgh," she said.

"I can foresee the possibility of serious concerns for healthcare in the Borders General Hospital if this were to happen with the lack of local knowledge.

"The health secretary is well aware of the issues arising from the board's failures which led to those bailouts but can I ask if there's more that can be done?"

Ms Sturgeon said Health Secretary Jeane Freeman would continue to work with the board to make sure the issues were addressed.

'Sustainable position'

She said: "This year the government is investing in excess of £207m in NHS Borders."

"The medium-term financial framework for health and social care sets out the approach that we're taking both to further increase investment and deliver sustainable services across the country.

"The health secretary, as I said, will engage with NHS Borders to reiterate our expectation that within the three-year flexibility open to them they work towards a sustainable financial position but also ensuring that there is no detrimental impact on the quality and safety of patient care."

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