NHS Borders chairman John Raine has praised his staff for their hard work over the festive period.
In an email to all workers, Mr Raine thanked them for their “huge efforts” in times of increasing demand and “persistent difficulty”.
The Southern reported this week that Dr Cliff Sharp, medical director at the local health authority, apologised to patients for lenghthy waits.
Mr Raine said he recognised that waiting time statistics “have taken a setback” but added that “the quality of care is high”.
He ended his email by reminding his workers they were “far from being out of the woods”, but that Borderers “can rely on the best possible service when they arrive at our doors”.
His full message to staff is as follows: “The challenge of winter for NHS front line services dominated the news headlines over the Christmas and New Year period.
“At NHS Borders we are no exception. Influenza, norovirus, trips and falls are anticipated and planned for. But plans are only as good as those who have to deliver the services on the front line and those who support behind the scenes.
“That is why I want to say a huge thank you to everyone in NHS Borders for the efforts you are making, and will continue to make, to deal with the pressures we currently face.
“I recognise it has been hard going because of the increasing demand for services, with more patients arriving at the doors of our hospitals and the persistent difficulty we have in being able to discharge patients once they are clinically ready to move on, so aiding the smooth flow of patients through BGH and our community hospitals.
“Some of our waiting time statistics have taken a setback, but the quality of care is high. I have personal friends who have had the misfortune of being laid low over Christmas and New Year but who have had the good fortune of being cared for in BGH and their gratitude and that of their family members has been conveyed to me.
“I acknowledge too that staff have maintained elective operating by prioritising day case and urgent clinical procedures. And I am aware of the huge efforts being made right across the Borders community by staff in GP surgeries and pharmacies, in community hospitals, in our out of hours service, our mental health services, as well as in BGH and by our support service staff.
“So, a very big thank you on behalf of the board and myself.
“As winter continues we are far from being out of the woods but I know vulnerable members of the Borders community can rely on the best possible service when they arrive at our doors.”