Government orders out-of-hours review

NHS Borders.
NHS Borders.

Just when NHS Borders decided how future out-of-hours care should be provided in the region, along comes a Scottish Government country-wide review of out-of-hours care.

Announcing the review, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport, Shona Robison said “The review will look at core requirements for services at night and the weekends as well as what roles and skills are needed, and where. This review will be complemented by the new collaborative approach to unscheduled care the Government is adopting, in partnership with the Academy of Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and other key partners.”

A shortage of GPs forced NHS Borders to give up manning out-of-hours centres at Duns, Hawick and Kelso in January 2014 and operate a centrally co-ordinated out-of-hours service from Borders General Hospital.

In December the board of NHS Borders accepted the business model for their out-of-hours care from a single site and moving it towards a nurse-led service, subject to “any viable refinements” proposed by community councils. But this decision could now be premature.

NHS Borders has agreed to extend the period for community council comment to February 28 which will put back a final decision being made - and the Government review could mean further delays.

Chair of Lammermuir Community Council, Mark Rowley, has written to Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison asking: “Will you be issuing NHS boards with guidance advising they should avoid making significant changes to how out-of-hours care is delivered in their regions until they have the benefit of your review?”