Specialist care unit for BGH has been approved

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The development of a Palliative Care Specialist Inpatient Unit at Borders General Hospital has been given the ‘green light’.

A business case for the development of the Unit, which incorporates the refurbishment of the hospital’s Stoke Unit, was approved by NHS Borders Board last Thursday.

Dr Ross Cameron, medical director with NHS Borders said: “We had recognised that the existing model of inpatient specialist Palliative Care created significant challenges for us in respect of patient-mix, continuity of care, clinical risk and the ability to deliver patient-centred care to the level we wanted. We worked hard, through the development of this business case, to identify the most suitable solution to improve the environment for Palliative Care and Stroke Patients within the BGH and to address these challenges. Significant developments in fundraising have created the potential for us to deliver an innovative and inspiring facility that will greatly improve patient care.

“I am delighted that the business case has been approved and we can now deliver this facility, which will enable our skilled multi-disciplinary palliative care team to deliver more appropriate and high quality care and support to patients and their families.”

The new unit will be created by remodelling and extending one end of an existing ward building. The new unit will have its own entrance with adjacent landscaping and car parking, while at the same time retaining an essential link into the main body of the hospital.

Dr Cameron said: “Experience in other parts of the country and the views of patients, carers and palliative care clinicians have informed the whole design process. Building works and interior design will be carried out to a high specification throughout. There will be en-suite patient rooms, as well as clinical areas, day rooms and accommodation for relatives.

“In recognition of the significant legacy left by Miss Margaret Kerr, a nurse who lived in the Borders, the Board had previously agreed to name the unit ‘The Margaret Kerr Unit’. Miss Kerr’s legacy will be applied in its totality to the creation of the new unit.

Dr Cameron added: “The creation of the Margaret Kerr Unit will be made possible by securing charitable support to cover the capital costs, which will be in the region of £4.5m. To date, considerably more than half of the total capital costs have been secured.”

The remaining sum to be raised will be the subject of a local fundraising appeal and continuing approaches to grant making bodies. The local appeal will be launched in September 2011.

Construction is provisionally scheduled to begin in Spring 2012, with the opening of the Specialist Palliative Care Unit and redeveloped Stroke Unit conditionally scheduled for January 2013.