New BGH pool options

Borders General Hospital
Borders General Hospital

Campaigners behind efforts to save Borders General Hospital hydrotherapy pool hope health chiefs will adopt some of their latest proposals.

NHS Borders decided last May to close the pool and provide alternative hydrotherapy from local swimming pools, together with a specially-designed facility at the Jedburgh swimming pool.

This was despite a long-running campaign that included 3,000 signatures on a petition pleading for the pool not to be closed as part of the redesign of the hospital’s outpatient facilities.

But, nine months on and the Borders Patient Action Group (BPAG), set up to campaign against the pool closure, felt little progress seemed to have been made on the hydrotherapy issue.

Responding to what the group claimed was the dismay of the BGH pool’s various user groups, BPAG spent 14 months working on new options it hoped NHS Borders would consider.

Last week, BPAG presented these options, but told The Southern it had been deeply disappointed when health chiefs reconfirmed their decision to close the pool.

“However, BPAG welcomed a suggestion made at the meeting that some of the proposals put forward in the paper be piloted at the BGH pool, working towards a smooth transition to a future move of hydrotherapy provision to Jedburgh,” BPAG told us this week.

The group has now requested a further meeting with members of NHS Borders to progress some of these ideas.

Among BPAG’s proposals are the retention of the hydrotherapy department at the BGH until the new Jedburgh facility is opened.

BPAG suggests that the access needed to the new in-patients department at the BGH could be achieved by the creation of a new doorway leading through from the main corridor to beyond the hydrotherapy room, thus providing access to treatment rooms.

BPAG has also suggested that the pool could be hired out to local groups out of hours.

Campaigners have spoken with various people and organisations over the past months who would be keen to find a slot during the evening or weekend for their clients to use the BGH pool and would pay for the privilege.

New custom from sports clubs to rehabilitate those with sports injuries could also be sought, while some physiotherapists working privately have also expressed an interest in using the pool. The pool could also be a centre of excellence for rehabilitation and training of junior physiotherapists.

NHS Borders said it will need to examine the details of the proposals before making any official comment.