BGH pool row growing

THE backlash is continuing to grow against any threat to close the hydrotherapy pool at Borders General Hospital, writes Mark Entwistle.

It was last week that TheSouthern revealed the threat to the pool and gym, both located in the hospital’s physiotherapy department, as part of a revamp of rehabilitation services.

Now, support for a petition started by Stow resident and physiotherapy patient Ruth Flavin, is increasing after NHS Borders admitted the pool situation was under review.

Scottish Borders councillor Rory Stewart (Jedburgh & District), is among the growing clamour of voices urging that the pool remain open.

“As we all know once a closure threat becomes real, there is absolutely no turning back and this service will be lost for ever, much to the detriment of the Borders as a whole,” he told us.

Mr Stewart has personal experience of the benefits of such spcialist facilities, as his youngest son needed hydrotherapy after major neurological surgery earlier this year.

“There is still a lot of unanswered questions that need to be addressed that are arising from the re-jigging of services,” said Mr Stewart.

“There has been word that there may be hydro pool facilities available elsewhere in the Borders, but where? I would very much doubt if this is a centrally-situated facility.”

And in an open letter to NHS Borders managers, Tweedbank resident Georgina Murray has pleaded for the BGH pool to remain open.

“I am a 79-year-old lady with rheumatoid arthritis who from time to time requires to be treated in the hydrotherapy pool at Borders General Hospital,” Mrs Murray writes.

“Under certain circumstances e.g. when one is unable to take oral painkillers, the only way to ease painful joints is to exercise very gently in warm water under supervision.

“I was therefore very upset when my rheumatology consultant at my last visit informed me that from the end of the year there was a strong possibility that the hydrotherapy pool would no longer be in use and that I would have to go to the public baths in future.

“I thought that before such far reaching changes could be made to our hospital that we would have been given the courtesy of an enquiry or at least a public meeting.”

NHS Borders says the issue of hydrotherapy services is proving complicated to resolve, but that a number of possible alternative sites are now being explored.