BGH pool could be kept open for now

Borders General Hospital near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.
Borders General Hospital near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.
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The chairman of NHS Borders says he wants to see the hydrotherapy pool at Borders General Hospital remain open until a replacement is built.

John Raine was speaking this week, after campaigners arguing for the pool to be saved from closure, recently presented the health authority with proposed options to allow the pool’s continued use.

NHS Borders decided last May to close the pool as part of the second phase of a crucial £500,000 revamp of the hospital’s outpatients department.

Water-based exercise sessions and treatments would be provided at local swimming pools by trained staff with specialist equipment, while a specially-designed facility at the Jedburgh swimming pool will provide hydrotherapy.

However, the latter is dependent on the Jedburgh swimming pool trustees gaining planning consent and securing funding to allow this to proceed.

The Borders Patient Action Group, which drew up options to allow continued use of the BGH pool, was disappointed when health chiefs reconfirmed their closure decision, but were heartened by a suggestion made at the meeting that certain options put forward in the group’s paper be piloted at the BGH pool, working towards a smooth transition to a future move of hydrotherapy provision to Jedburgh.

Mr Raine praised BPAG for its professionalism and the articulate way in which representatives have presented their case, but said the proposal to allow sports clubs and other private concerns to make use of the BGH pool had overlooked the fact that the pool is in the way of the second phase of the redevlopment of the outpatient department.

“This is still a priority, although I can’t tell you when work will start because it hinges on about upwards of £500,000 being available and we also want to see progress on the provision of hydrotherapy at Jedburgh swimming pool.”