NHS Borders dives in at the deep end

It is always advisable, before you decide to dive in head first, to check there is actually water in a swimming pool – or in this case, a hydrotherapy pool.

NHS Borders chairman John Raine would be well advised to heed this aquatic advice in future after he emerged from the organisation’s most recent monthly board meeting to issue a statement proudly trumpeting that local hydrotherapy service users would be much better off with alternatives being planned to compensate for the closure of Borders General Hospital’s hydro pool.

An improvement for patients may well prove true – although many would dispute this – but what has turned out to be most definitely not rooted in fact is the claim a hydrotherapy pool was planned by the local leisure facilities trust in Jedburgh and that the organisation he chairs would be investing in this.

It then transpired that Jedburgh pool bosses have yet to decide on whether a hydrotherapy pool will play any part in their future plans, much less them actually having applied for and being granted outline planning consent.

In fairness, NHS Borders chief executive Calum Campbell did quickly hold up his hands this week and admit duff information had been mistakenly given to the board.

However, the Borders public has been misled, albeit inadvertently, to believe there was almost a ‘shovel-ready’ scheme available to quickly make up for the looming loss of the BGH pool.

The health authority seems so anxious to find a sop that will placate the thousands of Borderers outraged over the BGH pool closure that it appears to have skipped even the most basic of fact-checking procedures in this instance.