Tories hit back after being told to check facts

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NHS Borders chairman John Raine has accused Borders politicians of using “historic and unqualified data” about its buildings – only to be told that it was the trust itself that supplied that information.

A response to a freedom-of-information request made by Scottish Conservatives appeared to show that Borders General Hospital’s theatres and equipment and the Eyemouth Medical Practice roof are at high risk, while Coldstream Dental Unit’s drainage, sewerage and electricals and Coldstream Health Centre’s boiler are at significant risk.

However, in a letter to Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont and Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton, Mr Raine said the claims had been based on historic data, adding: “Borders Health Board gives assiduous attention to the prioritisation of capital spending and patient and staff safety will always be the paramount consideration in the allocation of funding.”

He added: “I want to record my disquiet and disappointment that you and Rachael have associated yourselves with information and a story that is so out of date as to lack validity. We could easily have updated you had you or your staff spoken to us.

“I well understand the politics behind these issues and do not presume to judge your right to press governments for more investment in health services.

“However, I believe such campaigning loses credibility and authority and is indeed alarmist when it is based on historic and unqualified data.”

In response, a spokesperson for Mr Lamont and Mrs Hamilton said: “The information reported on last week was provided to us by NHS Borders in a freedom-of-information response dated May 12, 2017.

“This response makes it clear that the health board, hard-working staff and patients are being let down by a lack of investment from the SNP Government.

“The release of this information was in no way intended to undermine the incredible work of staff in the Borders.”