Health chiefs implored to open hospital review talks

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I am writing to your newspaper today in my capacity as honorary provost and indeed on behalf of the many townsfolk who have contacted me to express their utter disgust at the recent announcement by NHS Borders to review the future of our Community Hospital.

I take you back only two years when NHS Borders decided to conduct what itdescribed at the time as “an extensive public engagement and option appraisal process” before axing Crummhaugh House. After two public meetings and despite vehement opposition, it was clear that board members had already made up their minds and public opinion couldn’t sway them one little bit.

In the eyes of some, your Community Hospital is only bricks and mortar but to the people of Hawick and surrounding areas it is very much more than that, and I appeal to the board of NHS Borders to remember when reaching a decision on its future to carefully consider the key objectives in the Scottish Government’s 34-page strategy on community hospitals; one of which clearly states: “to identify how community hospitals can be developed to better provide for local communities.”

I can only hope and pray that this time around the board of NHS Borders will take seriously the views of the townsfolk and not allow Hawick to be robbed of a magnificent facility in order for them to balance their books.

Last week, medical director Sheena Macdonald stated that “as clinical leaders it is our job to engage with the public” and she also added that she and other board members want to engage in a discussion and a debate on the future of our Community Hospital. I therefore urge the director and the rest of her board to come to Hawick at the earliest opportunity to have this discussion and to listen to the views of townsfolk.

I also call on all of your readers to get behind the rest of the Hawick councillors and unite in resisting any attempts to close our Community Hospital.

Honorary Provost Stuart Marshall