Minister praises NHS Borders after review highlights progress

Scotland's Health Secretary Shona Robison said the government were working with health boards to address the issues. Picture: Greg Macvean
Scotland's Health Secretary Shona Robison said the government were working with health boards to address the issues. Picture: Greg Macvean
Share this article

Scottish Government health secretary Shona Robison has praised NHS Borders for making “significant progress”, including treating 100% of cancer patients within 62 days of referral.

In a letter to NHS Borders chairman John Raine prompted by the board’s recent annual review, she pays tribute to its staff.

“It is clear NHS Borders is making significant progress in taking forward a challenging agenda on a number of fronts,” she says.

“I am confident you are not complacent and recognise that there remains much to do.”

Achievements highlighted in the review included sustaining performance at or above 95% for the four-hour emergency care target, getting waiting times for child and adolescent mental health services well in excess of target and meeting all financial targets.

Areas for improvement identified included improving access times for psychological therapies, tackling bed-blocking by hospital patients ready for release and reducing staff sickness absence rates.

Mr Raine welcomed Ms Robison’s praise, saying: “We are under no illusions about the challenges we face, with demand for health services continuing to outpace the resources available to us, but it is encouraging to receive such a letter, which acknowledges the commitment of staff across the whole organisation to providing the best possible service to Borders people.”

Quarterly figures released by the NHS Scotland’s information services division also show that, as well as treating all patients given urgent suspected cancer referrals within 62 days, NHS Borders tended to 100% of cancer patients within 31 days of a decision being made on the treatment required.

Medical director Cliff Sharp said: “We remain committed to continuously improving our services and delivering excellence in care for every patient every time.

“We also ensure that any delays with local patient care are highlighted so we can address them in a timely manner whenever they may arise, from first contact with an NHS member of staff, through referral, to the completion of their treatment.

“Our staff work hard to deliver well against these targets, and I would like to recognise their efforts and thank them.”