Staffing problems arise at Borders General Hospital

The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.
NHS Borders chiefs have said that the local health authority is facing “significant challenges” with staffing levels and bed capacity at the Borders General Hospital.

The decision was made this week to further extend the cancellation of routine operations until September 5 so staff can be moved to support other areas of the hospital where staff shortages, through vacancies and staff members having to self isolate, are encountered.

A spokesperson for NHS Borders told us: “In common with health boards across Scotland, NHS Borders is currently facing significant challenges in relation to staffing and bed capacity across our sites, and in particular in the Borders General Hospital.

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“This is due to a combination of factors including increasing numbers of patients requiring care for Covid-19, high numbers of attendances at the Emergency Department for non-Covid patients and long waits for people to be admitted to inpatient beds.

“We are working hard to try and respond to this pressure including the difficult decision that was taken to extend the cancellation of routine operating until September 5.

"This helps free up staff to support in other areas and is made with both our patients’ safety and staff wellbeing at the forefront of our minds.

"We have systems and processes in place to ensure that safe staffing levels are maintained and are actively recruiting to a number of vacancies. We are also feeling the impact of staff being required to isolate whilst awaiting test results if they are identified as a close contact of someone with confirmed Covid-19.”

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As at 7am yesterday morning, 15 patients were being treated with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the hospital, with some of those believed to have been transmitted in the hospital.

The spokesperson continued: “In recent weeks there has been an increase in the number of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

"During this time, our Infection Control Team have actively investigated and managed an outbreak in the BGH, in which a small number of cases were believed to have been acquired in the hospital.

"Although unfortunate, there is always a risk that patients can acquire infections in a healthcare setting and our staff continue to take all possible precautions to minimise this risk.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​”

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Since the latest relaxation of restrictions, the number of new cases in the Borders have risen dramatically.

Public Health Scotland reported the last seven-day total of new cases yesterday, with 410 between August 16-22, and 85 yesterday alone, totalling 5,326 cases since the pandemic began last March.

However, cases here are still well below the majority of Scotland, with only the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney reporting fewer.