ADDITIONAL capital funding from the Scottish Government totalling £2.2 million will allow NHS Borders to make a number of improvements to facilities and services at Borders General Hospital, although the work won’t be without its complications.
The additional money is available for the financial year of 2012/13 as a result of slippage in other Scottish NHS capital schemes and work is at the planning stage.
The unexpected capital is to be put towards: items of medical equipment; renewal of the BGH’s acute in-patient mental health ward to reduce a range of clinical risks and improve staff and patient safety and patient facilities and the moving of the hospital’s out-patient department from the original cramped and unsuitable location on the first floor to a central and larger space on the ground floor.
However this move has repercussions for other services as it requires a re-siting of physiotherapy and occupational therapy facilities to a new location, also on the ground floor.
More problematic still is the need to close the BGH’s hydrotherapy pool and re-provision the service from alternative facilities.
Discussing the planned improvements and their repercussions, an NHS Borders spokesperson commented: “It is always an emotive and difficult issue when changes are made to much valued services.
“In the case of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy there are indeed challenges and questions. Whilst physio and occupational therapy need to be moved from their current location, where they have been since the BGH opened, there are opportunities posed by the move. “We have been working with staff on a re-design of the ward area and this will indeed offer a smaller gym space but one in which a full range of treatments can be offered. We continue to develop a variety of different approaches to offer hydrotherapy for those patients who need it.
“This is not a savings driven project, it is a project designed to further develop services at the BGH that will allow it to develop and offer more services on an out-patient basis and reduce unnecessary admissions.”
NHS Borders assures that the planned schemes will not result in bed losses, stating that they are an opportunity to enhance existing services and are in a no way a service reduction.
The spokesperson added: “The clinicians involved in the departments concerned are finalising there plans and will take on board any comments provided.”