NHS Borders’ waiting targets are rarely out of the news nowadays but as politicians engage in a battle of words, the NHS carries on with its work.
This winter has been a particularly challenging one and the way that staff have stepped up to the plate has led the chairman of NHS Borders board John Raine to issue a public thank you to them all.
Mr Raine said: “Early in January I reflected on the challenge that the winter had placed on our services over the Christmas and new year period, and thanked you all for the efforts you were making to deal with the pressures we were facing.
“We all knew that the challenges were not going to disappear overnight, however what we did not anticipate was the extent to which the so called ‘Beast from the East’ was going to affect the UK, with the Borders being no exception.
“I have been completely overwhelmed with stories from across our organisation about staff and volunteers going to exceptional lengths to keep our services running and our patients safely cared for during the prolonged period of severe weather.
“Our estates ground staff worked round the clock in the most difficult of conditions to maintain access to our buildings.
“Members of the estates team and other services were redeployed as drivers to support the sterling efforts of the transport office in getting people to and from work from right across the Borders.
“Surge bed capacity took on a whole new meaning when nursing and medical staff stayed overnight, in some cases for up to four nights, to ensure that shifts were covered.
“Pharmacy staff worked to ensure supplies of life-saving drugs could be delivered to those who needed them, utilising the invaluable help of voluntary organisations such as the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team and Borders Search and Rescue to reach patients who were cut off because of the snow.
“Community nurse managers supported our district nurses to enable them to get to work, prioritise their work load to ensure our most vulnerable patients were seen in a timely manner and juggled staffing across the community hospitals to make sure services were covered and our in-patients were cared for by the right staff and with the right supplies.
“There was not a single patient that the team was unable to reach; an incredible achievement given the conditions that they were facing.
“The same goes for the mental health team, across both inpatient and community settings; supporting one another to ensure that all emergencies were dealt with and patients were safe and cared for.
“These are just a few of many examples; far too many to mention. And of course the aftermath of the weather is now causing significant operational challenges for us which again you are dealing with.
“That is why I want to say a huge thank you to everyone in NHS Borders, once again, safe in the knowledge that the Borders community can continue to rely on the best possible service when they need us.”