Holyrood to consider site move for Gala service

THE Scottish Government will consider the relocation of Galashiels ambulance station to a site at Borders General Hospital on April 24, writes Kenny Paterson.

Both NHS Borders and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) backed plans at separate board meetings held last week.

And the case will be formally looked at by the Government’s Capital Investment Group this month.

The switch of the station out of Galashiels – due to take place in 2012/13 if approved – will allow the new Roxburgh Street GP surgery to be built in 2013/14, with the whole project costing £1.8million.

A paramedic will be on call at the new health centre when it opens and both organisations have said ambulance response times will in fact improve rather than worsen.

But one SAS worker told us: “We will have to see how it goes but I feel it would be better to move the station near Galashiels Health Centre at Currie Road.

“The ambulance facilities at Roxburgh Street were built in the 1970s and are not good enough but with both the police and fire stations in the town getting old, why not bring all three together on the same site to serve Galashiels? It would appear to make more sense than a costly move to the BGH.”

But Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Borders, said: “This is a major boost for local health services.

“The plans reaffirm our commitment to delivering first-class health care, as close to home as possible, in modern facilities.

“While more detail will be confirmed in the coming few months, these plans mark an important step forward in improving health care for the community.”

The scheme will be funded by both organisations, with NHS Borders claiming the new ambulance station site will provide excellent access to the main roads of the Borders.

And the health board say the new health centre will offer improved clinical areas, patient facilities and administrative space for practice staff and the primary healthcare team, as well as some visiting services.