The 2.4m Eade Endoscopy Unit replaces a previous unit opened in 1997 and more than doubles the capacity of the existing space.
It offers many improvements over the old unit, including two scoping rooms, larger waiting and recovery areas, patient changing areas, increased office and reception space, improved staff facilities, two preparation and admissions rooms, a clinical room and a quiet room which were not previously provided.
With activity in the unit rising during the past 10 years, the need for a new unit was obvious - more than 2,600 procedures carried out in the last year alone. There has also been the introduction of a bowel cancer screening programme as well as new decontamination requirements and patient and staff facilities that meant the existing unit was not fit-for-purpose or able to accommodate any increased activity.
The business case for the unit was approved by NHS Borders in June 2008, and work started on site in March 2009 for completion in March 2010. The project was completed ahead of schedule and the unit opened to patients in January 2010 with the administration and reception areas completed in late February.
The unit has been named after and opened by Dr Oliver Eade, who worked at the old Peel Hospital from 1980-1988 and then at the BGH from 1980-2003 as a consultant physician with a specialist interest in gastroenterology.
Dr Eade introduced the specialty of gastroenterology to the Borders and oversaw the development of endoscopy facilities from a cramped side room in Ward 4 to the current single room facility. Latterly, he was also head of the Department of Medicine and now enjoys a career as a writer.
Mary Wilson, chair of NHS Borders said: "The opening of this marvellous facility is a significant element of health care in the Borders. It re-affirms our commitment to delivering first-class health care, as close to home as possible, in modern facilities."
Dr Eade said: "This must be one of the best, if not the best, endoscopy unit in the country … and all within budget! Truly remarkable."
Jonathan Fletcher, consultant physician with NHS Borders added: "We are delighted with the new endoscopy unit. It has allowed us to expand our endoscopy service and increase other day case treatments. Thanks must go to the design team who came up with a spacious layout that follows the natural flow of patients through the unit."
Bill Goodburn, one of the first patients treated in the new unit, reported: "I could not have been more pleasantly surprised than with my visit to your department. From reception to conclusion one could not expect better.
"The marvellous clean layout and the old fashioned nursing care was so encouraging and reassuring, contrary to some previous hospital experiences. I greatly appreciated your openness and willingness to explain your procedures. Best of all was having you report your findings pleasantly and clearly immediately after the procedure.
"Altogether a great example of how first class health care can be delivered."