Health chiefs in snub over hospital public meeting

Hawick Community Hospital
Hawick Community Hospital

Borders health bosses have ignored a request for a public meeting to discuss the future of Hawick Community Hospital and dental practice.

But despite the snub, members of the public are being asked to attend Tuesday night’s Area Forum where the matter will be discussed.

In a letter to NHS Borders chief executive Callum Campbell, dated December 8, Councillor George Turnbull wrote: “Due to the recent press coverage regarding the imminent review of all the community hospitaIs . . . I write on behalf of the Hawick councillors to invite you or any appropriate officer to attend a public meeting in Hawick.”

Mr Turnbull gave three possible meeting dates before adding that he needed a response within two days (by Wednesday evening).

NHS Borders failed to respond but in a statement issued earlier this week, Borders health service chairman John Raine, said: “All public service organisations need to review the way they deliver services. We have budget pressures which mean we must continue to make efficiency savings, but the fact is we are given substantial sums of public money and we need to be assured we are using our resources in the best possible way for those we serve.

“We know our community hospitals are highly regarded in the localities but the review will need to look at the way all our in-patient services are used and how community hospitals work as part of the whole system of healthcare alongside other health and social care services in the community. We can give a categorical assurance that any changes would be widely consulted upon.”

And speaking shortly before our press deadline last night, Councillor Watson McAteer said: “As far as I can establish NHS Borders have not been able to support a public meeting being organised for next week to discuss Hawick Community Hospital. The Hawick councillors would encourage townsfolk to attend the Teviot and Liddesdale Area Forum in the Town Hall, at 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 16, where there will be an opportunity to discuss this matter.”