Rachael Hamilton welcomes Borders’ pulmonary service

Rachael Hamilton MSP has welcomed the new pulmonary rehabilitation programme in the Borders, following a meeting with Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland in the Scottish Parliament.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is a treatment for people living with chest conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is proven both clinically effective and cost-effective through reducing hospital admissions.

Often led by physiotherapists, PR programmes combine physical exercise with education, advice and support, and are delivered over a number of weeks in-group settings. They build people’s confidence in self-managing their chest condition, and in their ability to get active and live as independently as they can.

Scotland has a poor record on lung health, with some of the highest – and increasing - prevalence rates of COPD in Western Europe. COPD accounts for 127,000 emergency bed days annually in Scotland with an average inpatient stay lasting 4-8 days and costing £3000.

Ms Hamilton first raised the issue of a lack of pulmonary rehabilitation in December 2017 with the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell MSP.


Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:

“I am glad that the Borders finally has pulmonary rehabilitation programme as our area was desperately lacking this vital service.

“Pulmonary rehab is crucial in assisting those people living with chest conditions and it concerned me that for years we did not have the same service that the rest of Scotland had access to.

“PR is a key part of clinical guidelines for treating COPD and supports people to self-manage.

“Both the British Heart Foundation and Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland are campaigning for more investment in pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for patients and I want to give my strong backing to their campaigns.


Linda Gray, NHS Borders Physiotherapist said:

“It’s great that our patients with long term respiratory problems can now access this vital approach to improving the way they can live with their condition, wherever they live in the Borders. 

“When you see and hear first-hand the difference that pulmonary rehab makes to people living with chest conditions, you are left in no doubt as to the benefits.   

“Symptoms like breathlessness can be terrifying, but this approach helps people to limit their anxiety and cope better with everything their illness throws at them, meaning they can get on with their lives and stay as well as possible.”