Call for charities to use BGH hydrotherapy pool

Borders General Hospital
Borders General Hospital

The group campaigning to save the BGH hydrotherapy pool says it has reached an agreement with health chiefs over charity use of the facility.

Representatives of the Borders Patient Action Group (BPAG) told us they had a “hugely encouraging meeting” with senior officials at NHS Borders recently.

NHS Borders plans to close the hydrotherapy pool at the Borders General to make way for the second phase of redevelopment of the hospital’s outpatient department.

Alternative hydrotherapy services will be provided from local swimming pools and a new, but still as yet unbuilt, specialist pool at Jedburgh.

The BPAG has put forward a paper outlining various suggestions for hydrotherapy which, if the BGH pool cannot be retained, will, it claims, at least ensure a continuation of hydrotherapy services until the Jedburgh pool is opened.

Earlier this year, NHS Borders chairman John Raine pledged to do all he could to retain the BGH pool until the Jedburgh facility was open.

Now, BPAG says NHS Borders has agreed to look at charities making use of the BGH pool with a view to easing the transition to the new proposed pool in Jedburgh.

“We see this decision to move this forward as hugely encouraging and a significant commitment to the continuance of hydrotherapy provision in the Borders,” said BPAG’s Ruth Flavin.

“NHS Borders and BPAG are working in partnership to get this scheme under way. The plan is to put aside an afternoon a week for a charity to bring members to make use of the hydrotherapy pool.

“We have been tasked with finding a suitable charity to work with to set up initial sessions and have several in mind, but there might be other groups in the Borders that we are unaware of who might like the opportunity of having a weekly session and we’d like to hear from them.”

NHS Borders said the hydrotherapy pool will remain in use at the BGH until phase two of the outpatients redevelopment progresses.

But it warned: “Informal discussions with BPAG continue to discuss proposals for the hydrotherapy facilities and the transition to other pools in the Borders. No decisions have been agreed on this matter.”