Out-of-hours Duns doctor service is cut

Borders General Hospital
Borders General Hospital

Out-of-hours GPs will no longer be based outwith Borders General Hospital following changes to the Borders Emergency Care Service (BECS).

The change means Duns, 
Kelso and Hawick will no longer have out-of-hours doctor cover in the community.

NHS Borders medical director, Dr Sheena McDonald said: “Over the last 12 months throughout Scotland it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain GPs who wish to undertake evening and overnight work.

“NHS Borders has taken steps at an executive and operational level to deal with the challenges this poses in relation to out-of-hours services.”

Dr Craig Wheelans, interim clinical lead for BECS, added: “NHS Borders must evolve the high quality out-of-hours service that we provide to patients in response to the increasing demands on GPs during their working week.

“Since 2004 care has been co-ordinated from a hub based within the BGH and NHS Borders will continue to provide care in this manner, with patients triaged to be dealt with in the most appropriate location and by the most appropriate clinician based upon clinical need.”

Borders John Lamont MSP said: “The Borders Emergency Care Service has provided vital help over the years that has 
no doubt helped to save many lives.

“We need to ensure that it continues to provide the best possible standard of care for Borders residents, but the withdrawal of GPs from the service puts this under threat.

“While some cases can be dealt with by a nurse, there will be others where a doctor will be needed, but for many people living in Berwickshire and Roxburgh there will no longer be one on call.

“It must be a priority to keep these GPs operating in all areas of the Borders, and something needs to be done to encourage more of them to step forward to take part in BECS.”

Emergency department consultant, Mr Jacques Kerr, said: “Despite current pressures on the out-of-hours service provided by GPs, we are confident within NHS Borders that we shall continue to have a robust and effective service for the management of patients during this period.”