Health bosses must act over inspectors’ concerns

This week we report on strong criticism from health inspectors of the standard of care given to some elderly and dementia sufferers at Borders General Hospital.

NHS Borders says while it will act on inspectors’ concerns, there was also much to be positive about from the health watchdog’s report.

Of course, any organisation undergoing an inspection can expect to have a light shone on its shortcomings.

But it was still surprising to hear that, on occasions, inspectors found that the needs of patients “were not put first” and to learn that the dignity of some patients was not being maintained.

A large facility such as the BGH has many staff, the vast majority of whom pride themselves on being hard-working, caring health professionals.

The BGH has rightfully been the deserving recipient of many accolades in the past for the standard of care given to patients. TheSouthern’s letters page has frequently carried glowing testimonials from grateful former patients and family members.

That is why it is vital NHS Borders bosses act on the concerns flagged up by the recent inspection.

Being the region with the greatest percentage of its population over the age of 65, together with increasing numbers of dementia sufferers, means the BGH faces coping with ever more numbers of elderly patients in the years to come.

Emulsioning a few walls in sympathetic colours and hanging a couple of big clocks might help, but to change the attitudes of individuals requires a culture change and one that has to be driven from the top down.