Cross-party committee unsatisfied with NHS Borders

A letter has been sent to NHS Borders following a Holyrood Committee’s dissatisfaction at the board’s overall ‘strategic thinking and planning’.

The letter from Lewis MacDonald MSP, the Convener of the cross-party Health and Sport Committee, emerged as a result of scrutiny of NHS Borders. During the scrutiny session, the board did not provide substantive evidence on a series of questions from MSPs.   

The committee raised concerns ‘at the weakness of evidence given in relation to strategic thinking and planning’ as the board appears ‘to anticipate brokerage for an indeterminate number of years into the future’. The board has been previously escalated to Stage 4 on the Scottish Government’s NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework following concerns over risks to delivery, quality, financial performance or safety.

During the evidence session in Holyrood, members of the NHS Borders board claimed that they have no in- or out-patients waiting for more than 12 weeks, and no-one waiting more than 6 weeks for diagnostic tests. The convener refuted these claims in his letter and the truth of that matter is that the target was missed for the full 2017/18 year and since the beginning of 2018/19. 

The letter went onto seek further clarification on other issues, such as prescribing costs, financial balance, monitoring Primary Care and delayed discharge. The board will have to 18th April to reply to the Committee.

Rachael Hamilton MSP has repeatedly raised concerns over the performance of NHS Borders and has voiced her concerns at the pressure being put on hardworking staff at a time when financial resources are short.


Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:

“The hardworking staff at NHS Borders deserve a lot of credit for working tirelessly to provide the best care possible under circumstances driven by mismanagement and a lack of resources and funding.

“The letter from the Health and Sport Committee is concerning, and it raises a significant number of unanswered questions about the performance and operation of NHS Borders.

“I have consistently highlighted the inability to meet targets and the Committee rightfully picked up on this. It simply is not good enough.

“I look forward to reading NHS Borders response to the letter, and I hope it provides more clarity.

“We hear time and again from the Heath Secretary false promises and our NHS Borders is being let down by the SNP’s mismanagement of the Scottish NHS. Eleven years of SNP Government is really starting to take its toll”.