Hospital axe plan ‘must be resisted’

Hawick Community Hospital.
Hawick Community Hospital.

Hawick’s Community Hospital and dental practice may close after NHS Borders bosses announced a shake up of health services in the region.

The facility opened in 2002 at a cost of £3.5million and any review will also include the dental practice attached to the hospital.

NHS Borders currently operates four community hospitals at Hawick, Duns, Kelso and Peebles and buildings and associated overheads are being blamed for the planned review.

And Councillor Ron Smith said that any closure plans must be resisted. “It’s incomprehensible to me that a modern facility in the biggest Borders town could be seriously considered for closure,” said the Hawick and Hermitage member.

“There will always be a need for a community hospital in Hawick whether it be an intermediate stage in returning home from the BGH or it be for end-of-life care.

“Rationalisation and efficiencies can only be taken so far and attempts to close Hawick Community Hospital would have to be resisted.”

A statement from NHS Borders read: “In order to maintain the quality and coverage that we provide, NHS Borders is in the process of reviewing the way we deliver all of our services.

“We would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that no decisions have been taken.

“Any potential long-term changes to the provision of services will be made according to the key principles outlined in our recently agreed clinical strategy and any
proposed major service changes will be subject to employee and public consultation.”

Medical director Dr Sheena MacDonald said that saving money on buildings could allow them to invest in areas such as staffing and any changes had to be made for “absolutely the right reasons” and should ensure a service which was “at the very least” as good as at present.

She added: “Public opinion – and even opposition – is a vital part of developing our plans.

“It is good to have that challenge, sometimes there are things we haven’t thought about, so we want to hear what the cynics have to say and we want to engage in a discussion and a debate.”