Health chiefs face £25m cuts

Selkirk Health Centre.
Selkirk Health Centre.

Better partnership working and staff training is what the public wants to see from NHS Borders.

But that comes against a backdrop of having to save an extra £25 million from its budget.

A total of 128 responses were received in connection with plans they have drawn up for services up to 2020.

Services provided as close to home as possible; better communication between health and social care staff when someone is discharged from hospital; quicker and fairer access to GPs; and better patient transport for rural areas were all the agenda of those who responded.

Health chiefs want people to take more responsibility for their own health; to train staff to treat people in GP practices, community hospitals, community pharmacies and day centres rather than at the BGH; increase specialist or secondary care services in community settings and develop better alternatives to hospital admission.

NHS Borders outlined the issues they face, including an estimated further £25m of efficiency savings.

They said: “Compared with most other areas in Scotland, population growth is a unique challenge for the Borders. The population has risen by almost 10 per cent in the last 20 years and is predicted to rise further.

“There is also an expected rise in the proportion of over 65s, which will also impact on our services. Our workforce itself is becoming older and we need to plan now how we will address gaps in the coming years.

“By 2020, approximately eight per cent of the current workforce will be eligible to receive the state pension, just over 40 per cent of them have direct clinical roles and if they choose to retire this may result in challenges in recruitment.

“The traditional model of delivering care in hospitals and in the community is very focused on care being delivered by doctors and other medics in a clinical setting. As we move towards 2020 there will be a requirement to deliver care in radically different ways, maximising self care and community support and avoid hospital admissions wherever possible.”