Make the most of coastal community help

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This March has seen the Great Daffodil Appeal get underway. The initiative is run by Marie Curie Cancer Care, and each year helps to raise vital funds that allow them to continue providing free care for those with terminal illnesses. Every March millions of people across the UK support their biggest fundraising event of the year by simply giving a small donation to purchase and wear a daffodil pin. Since the first appeal took place in 1986 more than £70 million has been raised to support their work.

I would encourage everyone in the Borders to donate and wear a daffodil pin in support of Marie Curie. When even a small donation can make such a big difference we have no excuse not to help out and ensure that their patients continue to have the best end of life care possible.

Official figures have shown that the problem of bed blocking in the Borders is getting worse. Statistics show that between October and December in 2013 a total of 2,091 bed days were taken up by delayed discharge patients in NHS Borders. Delayed discharge occurs when a patient is fit and able to leave hospital, but has nowhere to go, such as a care home or supported living accommodation.

This can cause a lot of distress amongst patients, who instead of being allowed to leave hospital are forced to stay far longer than necessary. It also causes huge problems for hospital managers who are having beds taken up when there are sick patients in need of care. It is entirely unacceptable to leave these individuals languishing in hospital. Whatever way you look at these figures they paint a picture of a Scottish Government that is letting the situation get out of control.

The third round of the Coastal Community Fund opened for applications recently, with around £65 million available to support the development of UK coastal communities. Several projects in Berwickshire have benefited from the fund in the past, with news also being announced that the Gunsgreen House Trust has been given £118,000 to develop the Smugglers’ Coast in East Berwickshire.

Their success just goes to show what can be gained from applying to this fund. When the amount of money on offer could make such a huge difference to an area there’s no excuse not to send an application in, and I hope that once again we can see Berwickshire be successful in receiving grants.

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