The work of NHS Borders staff has been praised by Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison in the health board’s formal annual review.
Ms Robison praised NHS Borders for making “significant progress” in the face of many challenges.
Achievements highlighted include: sustaining performance at or above 95% for the four hour emergency care target; performing well in delivering the suite of elective access targets and standards including the 12 week treatment time guarantee and key diagnostic tests; delivering cancer waiting times above national standards; waiting times for child and adolescent mental health services well in excess of target; meeting all financial targets.
Areas for improvement raised by the Cabinet Secretary were: improving access times for psychological therapies; reducing the number of patients delayed in Borders hospitals when they are clinically ready to move on; and sickness absence rates which are below average for NHS Scotland yet remain above the 4% standard.
Welcoming the commitment of the board and Scottish Borders Council to the integration of health and social care services, Ms Robison added: “It is clear NHS Borders is making significant progress in taking forward a challenging agenda on a number of fronts.”
“I am confident you are not complacent and you recognise that there remains much to do.”
NHS Borders chairman John Raine responded: “We are under no illusions about the challenges we face with demand for health services continuing to outpace the resources available to us. But it is encouraging to receive such a letter which acknowledges the commitment of staff across the whole organisation to providing the best possible service to Borders people.”
The latest figures released by the Information Services Division (ISD), indicate that NHS Borders is a high performing health board with 100% of all patients treated within the 62 days of Urgent Suspected Cancer referral, and 100% of patients treated within 31 days of DDT (Date Decision to Treat).
Judith Smith, Macmillan nurse consultant and lead clinician for cancer, said: “We recognise the importance of patients receiving a diagnosis and treatment plan as quickly as possible and are delighted that we have achieved 100% for both standards.”
“This reflects the hard work and commitment from all staff involved in this pathway from GPs referring patients, to administrative staff, those involved in diagnostics and nurses and clinicians. Everyone working together as effectively as possible to deliver the best experience possible for patients.”
Medical director Dr Cliff Sharp added: “We remain committed to continuously improving our services and delivering excellence in care for every patient, every time. We also ensure that any delays with local patient care are highlighted so we can address them in a timely manner whenever they may arise - from first contact with an NHS member of staff, through referral, to the completion of their treatment.
“Our staff work hard to deliver well against these targets and I would like to recognise their efforts and thank them.”