PLANS for a new ambulance station to serve the central Borders have been lodged with the local council.
The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) wants to replace its current ambulance depot in Galashiels with a modern station at the Borders General Hospital.
And NHS Borders plans to redevelop the current depot in Roxburgh Street into a £1.8million GP surgery for the town.
The application submitted to Scottish Borders Council (SBC) is for an ambulance station, wash bay, canopy, workshop and parking for 31 vehicles. It is expected to be considered by SBC planners later this autumn.
NHS Borders and SAS hope, if plans are approved, that work can get under way soon – this year and into next – as NHS Borders hopes to start work on the new medical practice in 2013/14.
Health officials say the new health centre will offer better clinical areas, patient facilities and administrative space for staff and the centre’s primary healthcare team as well as some visiting services.
NHS Borders’ chief executive Calum Campbell told us yesterday: “This is a major boost for local health services.
“These plans re-affirm our commitment to delivering first-class health care, as close to home as possible, in modern facilities and mark an important step forward in improving health care for the community.”
Both SAS and NHS Borders have repeatedly said ambulance response times will improve with the relocation.
Both organisations are funding the scheme and a paramedic will be on call at the new health centre when it opens.
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service told us yesterday: “We considered and evaluated a number of different options to improve the current facilities in Galashiels and are delighted that staff could now benefit from a purpose-built station on the hospital campus. Combined with the deployment of a paramedic at the new health centre, the initiative will improve response times in the area.”