NHS Borders has been escalated to a category ‘Stage 4’ amidst a long list of missed targets and staffing issues.
According to the Scottish Government’s NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework, a health board is escalated to Stage 4 when there are significant risks to delivery, quality, financial performance or safety.
Senior level external support is therefore required at this stage, and the transformation team then report to the Director General and CEO of NHS Scotland.
Crucially, this is one stage away from Stage 5 (the highest level), which involves ministerial intervention.
NHS Borders has been plagued with poor A&E waiting times, long waiting times for appointments, missed cancer treatment targets and staff shortages affecting services.
The NHS board is not the only one in Scotland to face difficulties in recent times. NHS Tayside faced an investigation into financial management and NHS Highland is at the centre of an inquiry into allegations of bullying.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
‘The hardworking staff of NHS Borders work day in, day out to provide excellent healthcare, yet the SNP Government has let them down at every turn’
‘It is unsurprising that NHS Borders has been escalated to this category. My immediate concerns are for patient care and safety.
‘We have seen long waiting times, ward closures and operations cancelled as a result of staffing issues.
‘I have repeatedly warned the SNP Health Secretary about these failings and she has failed to act.
‘This highlights the SNP’s shambolic handling of the Scottish NHS, and is a damning indictment of their record in Government.
‘I hope this situation improves and I will be urging the Health Secretary to take immediate action to improve the situation’