Thursday, November 15, 2007

Borders General Hospital denies bed shortage as MSP raises criticism

Borders General Hospital, infamous for its conflicting statements on health policy in the Scottish Borders, mixed in with infamous medical negligence actions, and a concerted policy of lying to families of patients who have died under questionable circumstances, hits the headlines yet again as Christine Grahame MSP, occasional champion of peoples rights in the Borders if the face fits, raises the prospect of Borders patients having to travel outwith the region for treatment.

John Glennie, Chief Executive of NHS Borders denies it of course, but fails in the believability stakes as always ... time for a replacement ?

BBC News reports :

Bed 'shortage' allegation denied

NHS Borders has denied claims it could face a bed shortage due to changes made at Borders General Hospital.

The number of beds available in four wards has recently been reduced from 120 to 92 as part of a refurbishment programme.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame said this could lead to patients being forced out of the region for treatment.

NHS Borders Chief Executive John Glennie said that such a situation has "never been the case".

Plans to reduce the number of beds were recently confirmed at BGH.

Ms Grahame claimed that the bed reduction - combined with the closure of community hospitals - had led to serious problems.

I am very concerned that patients and their families may have been left anxious and uncertain by Ms Grahame's statement - John Glennie NHS Borders Chief Executive

"Once again it appears NHS bosses have failed to properly consult and pressed ahead with plans which could lead to elderly patients being transferred to beds in the Lothians because of shortages here," she said.

"As we approach the winter the demand on beds, particularly for elderly patients, will increase."

The MSP said the move had been "badly thought-out" and she wanted to know what provisions were being made to have patients treated locally.

Mr Glennie said there was no risk of elderly patients being transferred to NHS Lothian for treatment which should be provided in the Borders.

"I am very concerned that patients and their families may have been left anxious and uncertain by Ms Grahame's statement," he said.

'Annual preparations'

"The recent refurbishment and upgrading of the four elderly care wards at the Borders General Hospital has been a major investment in improving the environment for patients and staff."

Mr Glennie said that both patients and staff had been "very enthusiastic" about the changes made.

However, he said there would be a further trial period before considering any longer term plans.

"Throughout the ward refurbishment there have been no bed shortages," he said.

"As part of our normal, annual preparations for winter, we also have the capacity to increase the number of beds available very quickly.

"It has never been the case that we would expect patients to travel to Lothian, as suggested by Ms Grahame, for care that should be offered locally."

no shortage of beds is the official line then ... but there seems to be ...

Dying woman's family heard tirade

The family of a woman who lay dying on a hospital bed had to listen to a teenager swearing and spitting at staff nearby, a court has been told.

The relatives of the woman heard Kevin Cook, 17, of Cheviot Road, Hawick, carry out his tirade at Borders General Hospital on 19 October.

He pleaded guilty to a breach of the Emergency Workers Scotland Act 2005.

Cook was sent to a young offenders institution for 52 days, which was backdated to 22 October.

Selkirk Sheriff Court heard that Cook had been taken to hospital suffering from head injuries.

However, he turned on two nurses as they tried to fit an intravenous line in order to administer fluids.

I want you and others to know that this kind of behaviour at Borders General Hospital will be dealt with severely - Sheriff Kevin Drummond

He lashed out with his arms and swore at them and a struggle developed with a security officer trying to calm him down before police were summoned.

"This was going on in an area of the accident and emergency department where in the next treatment area a lady had been admitted with a cerebral haemorrhage and was effectively brain dead," said procurator fiscal Graham Fraser.

"Her family and friends were with her in her final moments.

"The son's recollection of his last moments with his mother was his behaviour."

Defence lawyer Iain Burke said his client deeply regretted his behaviour.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond told Cook this kind of action would not be tolerated.

"I want you and others to know that this kind of behaviour at Borders General Hospital will be dealt with severely," he said.

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