Reprieve for BGH physio pool

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The hydrotherapy pool at Borders General Hospital has been given a stay of execution.

The move follows fears that it would be closed to make way for a new outpatients’ department.

Back in November TheSouthern revealed the pool was under threat, and by last week more than 1,300 people had signed a petition demanding the vital service be retained within the hospital.

On Tuesday, the hospital’s assistant medial director Dr Hamish McRitchie confirmed the pool would be retained until a review of services was complete.

Dr McRitchie said: “One area that has proved difficult is the arrangement for reproviding hydrotherapy. Our hydrotherapy service review has commenced and the senior clinicians advise us that we should retain the pool until the review is complete and an alternative is established. This will allow time for a process of staff and public engagement. We have therefore adopted a phased approach to the development of the outpatient department.”

And this week, following an offer of additional capital funding to use this financial year, planning and preparatory work for the new outpatients’ department is now under way.

“Phase one will see audiology, physiological measurement and medical outpatient clinics move to the new development on the ground floor in June 2013. The hydrotherapy pool will remain in its current position during this phase. Some outpatient clinics will need to remain upstairs at this time.

“Phase two will see the development of a purpose-designed physiological measurement area and the relocation of the remainder of outpatient clinics.

“The new outpatients’ department will be created in the existing occupational and physiotherapy areas on the ground floor of the hospital. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy will be integrated into a new combined rehabilitation facility which will be created in the current Ward 10 area. Ward 10 itself will move into Ward 14 when the Margaret Kerr Unit opens in January. The move of Ward 10 will also allow us the opportunity to create an environment that is more fitting for the patient groups in the ward and address the issues, including an improved entrance and signposting, which were identified in the Older People in Acute Hospitals inspection of the hospital in July.”

Dr McRitchie added: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Board to invest a substantial sum of money on improving its facilities and services which will benefit thousands of patients across the Borders.”