Health board pledges tighter security at Newstead headquarters

HEALTH chiefs have said they will take steps to ensure better security at their Newstead headquarters after a local dog walker found windows and doors left open overnight at the weekend.

The woman, a resident of the village who wished to remain un-named, had alerted TheSouthern on Monday. She told us: “I live in Newstead, and the NHS Borders offices are there too.

“There are a few folk who take their dogs for a walk around the grass at the health board at night, as do I.

“Almost every night there are lights in offices left on, the heating left on and worse still there are windows left open – not just on the catch, but open.

“Had I not been so law abiding I could have had computers, radios, etc., taken away and they would never have known till the following day.

“Most recently was just Sunday night, when lights were left on in the portacabin and the door was open. That had been unlocked and lights left on all weekend. But then they say there’s no money for the Borders General Hospital?

“With the amount of heating and lighting going to waste at the Newstead offices, it’s no wonder.”

After contacting NHS Borders with the woman’s concerns, officials said the matter would be looked into. David McLuckie, Director of Estates and Facilities for NHS Borders, told TheSouthern this week: “This is concerning news, as we take matters of security extremely seriously, and it is good that has been reported 
to us.

“We are looking into what appears to be an isolated incident in relation to the portacabin and while no patient/clinical information is stored in this facility, we will take any steps necessary to ensure this does not happen again.

“We have recently put in place new measures to improve the security of the Newstead building, including installing a new alarm system, and staff will be reminded of their responsibilities to support us in ensuring the building is secure at all times.”

Nicholas Watson, Borders Party member for the Leaderdale and Melrose ward, drew a parallel with SBC recently being held to account for not making sure that data was handled properly.

He told TheSouthern: “It’s not just about wasting electricity, people must have confidence that public sector buildings where sensitive information is held are properly secure. Well done the local resident taking the trouble to alert the Health Board.”