Health minister opens new ambulance station in Melrose

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Scotland’s health minister Shona Robison has formally opened the new £1.9million ambulance station next to Border General Hospital.

The new facility near Melrose replaces the old station at Roxburgh Street in Galashiels that was built in 1976.

The Scottish Ambulance Service says it provides significantly improved, modern operational facilities for the 34 staff that are based there.

Two emergency ambulances and three patient transport vehicles operate from the new station.

The Scottish Ambulance Service says the station provides quicker access to the wider Borders region, and believes it will improve response times in the area.

A paramedic will also be based at the new health centre in Roxburgh Street, Galashiels when it opens. In the meantime, there are plans to tactically deploy them at the Asda store for quick response to appropriate calls.

The new site includes a vehicle workshop which will service and maintain the Borders fleet.

Shona Robison, said: “This facility should greatly improve the working environment for ambulance staff working in the Borders, as well as being more conveniently located for responding to calls.”

Each year, staff at the station respond to around 4,000 emergency incidents, requests from doctors and routine calls, as well as transporting over 5,000 patients to and from their hospital outpatient appointments.

Pauline Howie, the Scottish Ambulance Service chief executive, said: “As demand continues to increase our ambulance staff are busier than ever responding with dedication and compassion to the needs of patients in their community, often in very challenging conditions.

“This new facility ensures that they have a modern, fit for purpose work environment with facilities that support the continued delivery of the highest standards of patient care.”

The project was originally rejected by councillors due to landscape concerns. But the Scottish government overturned the planning decision which rejected proposals for the new station next to BGH.