NHS Borders has been chosen to pilot a new system of working designed to prevent a slip in the standard of patient care at weekends.
Recent research has raised concerns about standards of care in English hospitals outside normal working hours, with lower staff numbers and poorer access to equipment thought to be hampering patient care.
And even though the Scottish Government has found no evidence that mortality rates for patients were any different if they were treated in the day or evenings and weekends in hospitals north of the border, plans have been outlined for a “genuinely seven-day NHS” in Scotland.
The government has invested £4 million in a trial of systems tasked with improving the flow of patients through the entire health system, from the very first contact they make with the NHS.
NHS Borders is one of five boards selected for the pilot, along with NHS Forth Valley, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Tayside.
All five boards will adopt different systems as part of the multi-million pound initiative, with the results used to make improvements nationwide.
The pilot scheme was announced by health minister Alex Neill at the International Conference for Quality in Health Care where he also committed to having consultants in wards seven days a week.
He commented: “The key principles of safety will always be at the heart of what we do in the NHS. The NHS must be a genuinely seven-day service where it needs to be.
“It should mean that pharmacists, physiotherapists, porters- all the services needed to help patients move through and be discharged from hospital- are on hand every day. of the week.”
At the time of going to press NHS Borders were unavailable for comment.