Grateful patient’s pool plea

I have had very positive experiences of our health facilities in the Borders and I want to comment on them, especially in light of all the recent worrying publicity about the NHS on a national scale.

Since 2004, I have had three admissions to Borders General Hospital – twice for cancer surgery and, more recently, in January last year due to falling downstairs and injuring my back.

My referral from GP to outpatients and then for cancer surgery was swift and efficient. The cancer was caught early – and nine years on I am well.

The treatment I received on all occasions was excellent. I had and still have great faith in staff at the hospital. Admiration as well, particularly for the nurses doing their best under such difficult circumstances.

After my fractured vertebra was seen to be complicated, it was decided to transfer me to the Southern General in Glasgow, where my treatment in the spinal unit was second to none.

I remain very grateful to all of the staff at both hospitals for their care, support and encouragement.

Now, 13 months after the fall, I am continuing to make good progress, thanks not least to current attendance at the BGH hydrotherapy pool.

I am told that movement in water – and not just swimming – is very beneficial to recovery, as the water takes the body weight, making necessary exercise less difficult and painful. The warm water is also very soothing, when pain and stiffness are a daily reality, and it is a pleasure to enter the pool. One of the difficulties of long-term recovery from trauma is the tendency to get demoralised and frustrated, feeling that the process is never ending and full recovery may never occur. My morale has been greatly helped, as a recent physiotherapy outpatient, and, in particular, by treatment and encouragement from the hydrotherapist.

I know of others who have been helped greatly by attending the hydrotherapy pool, with a variety of conditions.

I was relieved and very pleased to hear recently that due to widespread objection, the pool has been given a reprieve. But for how long? I hope it will remain permanently.

It is an excellent, and very necessary, aid to rehabilitation for many patients, specially in this region, with a high proportion of elderly patients. Having installed the pool, no doubt at great cost, it seems ridiculous to sacrifice it now to “cutting costs”.

Not only will patients, after major surgery and other traumas, be left in the lurch, also due to the reduced gym facilities at the BGH. They will, predictably, be in need of further care and treatment, due to a lack of proper rehabilitation at the right time.

I am one of very many Borders residents who objects wholeheartedly to this planned closure.

Eileen Clark

Main Street