NHS Borders considering more than switchboard change in bid to save £12.4m

The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

Health chiefs at NHS Borders say they are currently investigating hundreds of cost-saving options in a bid to make a £12.4m saving over the next 12 months.

The board’s finance director, Carol Gillie, yesterday revealed plans to make £5.2m of savings to be made from Borders General Hospital, £1.3m from mental health services, £5.1m from primary care, £0.8m from corporate, and £0.3m from external providers.

This week NHS Borders denied it had decided to close its switchboard service at Borders General Hospital, but confirmed a redesign of that service is one cost-cutting option due to be considered.

An NHS Borders spokeswoman said: “We are currently looking across the organisation to identify where we can safely make savings in order to achieve the £12.4 million target in our annual financial plan.

“One idea, out of many hundreds, which is being considered is about how our switchboard at the Borders General Hospital operates.

“There are a number of options being explored to see if this service could be redesigned to ensure that it meets our service demands while making the best use of our resources.

“An assessment of the feasibility of this idea is being carried out in consultation with IT, facilities, partnership colleagues and senior management.

“No decision to change the way in which switchboard operates has been taken.”

Last year NHS Borders received a £10.1m bai our from the Scottish Government.

A further £9.3m payment from Holyrood has been confirmed for this financial year.