Even with a £10.1 million bailout from the Scottish Government and another bailout expected, NHS Borders is making cuts. The gynaecology ward at Borders general hospital has closed, and the switchboard, which covers 20 wards, the pharmacy and other services, is on a so-called hit list. If calls are to be instead processed in Edinburgh, I foresee the possibility of serious healthcare concerns at the hospital, given the lack of local knowledge and so on.
The health secretary is well aware of the issues that arise from the board failures that led to the bailouts, but can more be done?
The health secretary will continue to work with NHS Borders to ensure that the issues are addressed. This year, the Government is investing more than £207 million in the board. The medium-term financial framework for health and social care sets out the approach that we are taking to increase investment further and deliver sustainable services across the country.
As I said, the health secretary will engage with NHS Borders to reiterate our expectation that, within the three-year flexibility that is open to it, it will work towards a sustainable financial position and ensure that there is no detrimental impact on the quality and safety of patient care. The health secretary would be happy to discuss the matter further with Christine Grahame.