Crumhaugh House to reopen for four months

CRUMHAUGH House is to temporarily reopen at a cost of £40,000.

The facility, which closed its doors in July, will be home to a number of dementia patients for at least four months while refurbishment work, totalling around £1.25million, is carried out at Huntlyburn House, Melrose.

It is understood safety checks have been carried out at the building and the plumbing and power supply have both been reconnected.

Dr Cliff Sharp, associate medical director in mental health for NHS Borders, told the Hawick News this week: “We initially hoped to convert Crumhaugh House to extra care housing. Unfortunately this has been ruled out.

“Consideration had also been given to decanting mental health to Galavale. However, with the extra care option being ruled out, it is more clinically and cost effective to use Crumhaugh House in the short-term for the decant.” The dementia care unit (Wilton View), and Teviot Bank, which was for elderly patients, were controversially closed, despite a barrage of criticism and concerns, as part of the Teviot Inpatient redesign process.

The last three patients were transferred to Melburn Lodge and NHS Borders have stated categorically that the move will not affect patients who were previously treated at Crumhaugh.

However, the news has come under fire from Hawick MSP John Lamont and Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson.

Mr Lamont said: “Whilst any improvements to local facilities must be welcomed, it does appear to be a bit of a muddle to close Crumhaugh House and then to reopen it for a short period.”

While Councillor Paterson added: “I’m extremely concerned that this will cause yet more stress to the elderly folk who are suffering from mental health problems.

“Is this a wise way to be spending money when Crumhaugh House will probably be closed again after four months?” added Councillor Paterson.

NHS Borders has received funding of approximately £2.2m to improve and upgrade its facilities, but the money is only available until March next year.

As well as mental health, it will also be used to improve outpatient facilities at Borders General Hospital, both of which are considered out-of-date by the local health authority.

Dr Sharp added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for NHS Borders to invest a substantial sum of money on improving its facilities and services. Utilising Wilton View allows us to quickly and effectively take advantage of this opportunity and the refurbishment of Huntlyburn House is great news for mental health patients in the Borders.”

It is understood patients will be moved to Crumhaugh House in December.