More than a dozen nursing beds were provided at Deanfield Care Home at the end of April to help ease pressure piled on staff at the Borders General Hospital at Melrose by the spread of the pandemic from March onwards.
Those 14 extra beds on the top floor of the Scottish Borders Council-run home helped tackle bed-blocking issues at the general hospital and community hospitals across the region as they dealt with an influx of Covid-19 sufferers requiring treatment.
The beds at the Roadhead home were not occupied by patients being treated for coronavirus but by others deemed to be well but unable to be discharged because of a lack of nursing home beds in community settings available for them.
However, with the number of cases of coronavirus continuing to fall across the region, it has been decided there is no longer any need for the facility.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Following careful consideration with colleagues at NHS Borders, it has been decided that there is currently not the need for the additional 14 nursing beds established at Upper Deanfield Care Home in Hawick.
“The beds were opened during a critical phase of the region’s response to Covid-19 to support a potential increase in demand, but sufficient capacity is now available within existing services to enable us to effectively support discharges from both the Borders General Hospital and community hospital service.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely along with NHS Borders, and both organisations absolutely recognise the long-term requirement for such a facility and expect it will be required again once the NHS is fully up and running again and there are increased bed pressures.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer said: “It would appear that NHS Borders now feels it has enough capacity at the hospital to cope with Covid-19, and that can be seen as an encouraging sign that the crisis is being brought under control, although no one is jumping to the conclusion that the crisis is over.”
The 35-bed Hawick care home, opened in 1987, is earmarked for closure if plans for a 60-bed replacement in the town’s Guthrie Drive are given the go-ahead.
The lower level at Deanfield continues to operate as a residential care home, and one resident there has tested positive for Covid-19, it has been confirmed.
No patients confirmed to have coronavirus were being treated at any of NHS Borders’ hospitals as of last Tuesday, that being the latest figure available, though 13 suspected to be infected and awaiting test results were being looked after.