Funding needed to cure op cancellations

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It was disappointing to see that for the second month in a row, NHS Borders had one of the highest rates of operations cancelled in Scotland because of resource issues.

The latest figures show that around 45% of cancelled operations were postponed by the hospital for “capacity or non-clinical reasons”. This means problems with staff, equipment or beds, and compares to a rate of 14% across the rest of Scotland.

I know BGH staff are working really hard in difficult circumstances to avoid cancellations and mitigate this problem. No one wants to cancel an operation; it is bad for patients and it is a waste of staff’s time.

A pattern is emerging and it is clear a lack of funding from the Scottish Government is causing real problems at NHS Borders. The SNP administration needs to look again at this issue and must provide the health board with sufficient resources to get these cancellation figures down.

Ayton RBS closure

It was a real shame to hear about RBS’s decision to close its Ayton branch.

This is the latest in a number of relatively-recent branch closures in the Borders and it will be a big blow to local residents who use it. I know some of my more elderly constituents struggle with internet banking and making them travel elsewhere to a branch with different mopening times may also be a challenge.

While RBS might be trying to move many of their customers to online banking, for many residents this is simply not an option as they might not have either the technology to use it or a reliable internet connection.

I am due to meet RBS in the next few weeks to discuss this move and will make the strongest possible case for them to reconsider this decision. At the very least I want the bank to look closely at whether it has put sufficient alternative plans in place and will be pressing them on specific details about mobile banking for Ayton.

Shows

The last few weeks have seen not only the Border Union Show, but also Duns Show.

As always, I had my usual stalls set up to offer constituents the chance to talk to me about any pressing issues or concerns that they thought I might be able to help with.

Both shows have fantastic reputations that see farmers, cattle breeders and agriculture enthusiasts from around Scotland visit them every year.

I was pleased to invite Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to the Border Union Show where she was able to meet local farmers and hear from them about what MSPs can do to help them. I know Ruth is keen to see rural areas such as the Borders flourish.