Mental health ward to relocate to Hawick

The impending closure of a 16-bed rehabilitation ward in Galashiels for patients with long-term mental health problems has been confirmed.

Along with 28 staff, services currently delivered at East/West Brigs – on the former cottage hospital site at Galavale – will, by next summer, be relocated at Crumhaugh House in Hawick.

The decision endorses the recommendation of a review group, set up last year to consider alternatives to Galavale which is now set to be sold off.

“This is a good move for NHS Borders and the people of Hawick and we are looking forward to being good neighbours,” said consultant psychiatrist Dr Cliff Sharp, associate medical director for mental health, after the health board meeting.

The move will involve a £1.87m revamp of Crumhaugh House which was built in the late 1990s as a replacement for Hawick’s Drumlanrig Hospital.

Despite a concerted local campaign, it closed in August 2012 after a review of inpatient services in the Teviot area, having latterly provided 38 beds for elderly patients and those with dementia.

It briefly flickered back to life as a stop-gap inpatient dementia facility while Huntlyburn House near Melrose was being refurbished, but it was closed again – and put on the market – in July 2013.

Even at a reduced asking price of £200,000, it failed to attract a buyer and, three months ago, Crumhaugh House was identified by the review group from four possible sites as the best alternative to Galavale

“There has since been wide engagement over the proposal,” said a spokesperson for NHS Borders.

When refurbished, Crumhaugh House will provide 13 inpatient beds – the reduction from Galavale based on an analysis of bed occupancy rates over the past two years.

Among the drivers for the relocation, NHS Borders has cited “patient safety issues” at Galavale.

“In its current location, ward staff are presented with real challenges, including patient observation and a lack of therapeutic space which has an impact on patient recovery times,” said Dr Sharp.

“The option to relocate to Crumhaugh House…addresses patient safety issues.”