Thursday, June 15, 2006

Closing Borders Hospitals - At least for Jedburgh, an improvement rather than an injustice ...

My old town of residence - Jedburgh, makes it to the news today - not because of the local band of crooked lawyers (there are many), and not because of the partial restoration of the Waverly Rail link (which I support).. which should bring some welcome and much needed changes to the Borders.

The reason for the town`s appearance on the news is of course that we learn the Cottage Hospital in Jedburgh - where i have been a few times in the past to patch myself up or visit elderly friends, is to be closed.

Ah - an opportunity to lobby for it to remain open then, you think ? certainly not ! but after a friend in Jedburgh today told me to watch the news reports, I just couldn`t resist a comment to give a reality check on the situation - as one who has actually been in the place before.

Watching the news today, you would think the Cottage Hospital in Jedburgh is some kind of saviour to the town ... and it may well have been so in the past ... but times change - and with all the Doctors, nurses, and medical staff stationed at the Jedburgh Health Centre, conveniently located just a short walk from the town centre .. the Cottage Hospital sits at the top of Castlegate - up a steep hill and hext to a cemetary. Great place for a hospital then, and in winter when Scottish Borders Council fails to clear the snow or ice ... almost inaccessible.

So, what`s up ? why the cries of injustice to Jedburgh of the closure of the Cottage Hospital and the promised development of the current Health Centre with expanded facilities ?

Well - it just gives some people something to shout about - maybe try and rally the mob and make a name for themselves when they don`t really have it ... nothing more than that really .. as a former patient of the place, I for one (and I know many more) would have been much happier to have walked or have been transported to the Health Centre for treatment rather than scale the heights of Castlegate to get to the Cottage Hospital, and then wait for a Doctor to come up from the Health Centre to attend the patient. Where`s the logic in that then, Mr Burt et all ?

I wonder how much Euan Robson really did with regard to allegedly campaigning for the retaining of the Jedburgh & Coldstream Hospitals ... he certainly never did anything for some people who raised issues about planning applications, crooked lawyers or public servants ..., even trying to cover up for a crooked lawyer by insisting one of the solicitors former clients desist from complaining against them .. naughty naughty.

Maybe the clue lies elsewhere .. with the decision announced on the same day of the Scottish Parliament`s support of the Borders Rail link ... was there some political trade off where the lib dems agreed to go softly on the shouting over hospitals for their precious rail link ... which many fear will turn into yet another great waste of money in the Scottish Borders .. since the actual railway line won`t actually link up with Carlisle, as it previously did before Lord Beeching`s report closed it down in 1969.

I have to laugh a bit at some of Jedburgh`s self glorified saviours who came forward to the media claiming all kinds of disgust and shame on the Health Minister Andy Kerr`s decision. On what platform do they do this ?

If anyone ever complains about something in Jedburgh - it gets swept under the carpet and the people who complain are victimised to the point where in some cases, they are viciously hounded out of the town by those who have appointed themselves in charge .... something I`ve personally witnessed more than once I`m sad to say.

Give the Borders a chance, guys .... instead of trying to keep the Region preserved in formaldehyde as it has been for at least, the span of my lifetime and a hundred years before that.

The expanded services announced by Health Minister Andy Kerr, for the more centrally located Jedburgh Health Centre where the staff & Doctors work as hard as possible to tend those who require medical care, .. should be praised and accepted as a modern day improvement and convenience (as long as they materialise of course), rather than giving yet another platform to the `aye bin` set, who want to keep the town as it was a hundred years ago ...

That`s wee Borders toon politics for you ... bit of a grey area .. not much honesty to those who seek it, .. and plenty of animosity from those who want to bury the dirt ... maybe the new rail link will bring in some new blood to the region to change that kind of thinking ..

Read on for the article ... from "The Scotsman", at :http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=878682006

Fury as two Borders hospitals axed
HAMISH MACDONELL

TWO hospitals in the Borders are to shut, it was announced yesterday, after Andy Kerr, the health minister, gave the go-ahead for the closures despite a vociferous local campaign to keep them open.

Mr Kerr announced that the Sister Margaret Cottage Hospital in Jedburgh and the Coldstream Cottage Hospital would be shut down and their inpatient services transferred to bigger hospitals in Hawick, Kelso and Duns.

The minister said it was vital health boards sought better ways of delivering services and insisted: "The NHS cannot stand still." But his decision was condemned by MSPs and local campaigners who vowed to fight on, through the courts in necessary, to save their hospitals.

George Burt, one of those fighting to save the Jedburgh hospital, said the local population would be "disgusted at this decision".

Mr Burt, a international consultant who works with the EU on governmental plans across the continent, said he had never come across a worse example of a government misusing its procedures to drive through a decision like this. He added: "We will be talking as soon as possible to see what we can do next. There are other legal options we can take."

Euan Robson, the Liberal Democrat MSP for the area, vowed to fight on alongside the local campaigners. He said he was "deeply disappointed" with the minister's decision which, he said, had been swayed by the weight of professional medical opinion, not by the local population.

Derek Brownlee, Tory MSP for South of Scotland region, said the announcement coincided with a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the reopening of Waverley rail link.

"In the best Labour traditions, there is a clear attempt to bury bad news behind the publicity on Waverley Railway Bill debate,"said Mr Brownlee.

"The health minister has shown just how little influence the Borders has on this Executive - and how little influence the Lib Dems have within it."

However, Mr Kerr defended his decision and announced that Jedburgh would get a re-developed health centre instead of its hospital. He said population projections for the Borders predicted that people would live longer, but could develop chronic conditions such as arthritis or heart disease. This required more preventative and continuing care rather than occasional emergency inpatient spells.

Mr Kerr said: "The development of Jedburgh Community Health Centre will play a central part in achieving modern and expanded facilities, and supporting improved health and well-being."

1 comment:

Archie said...

Giving lawyers a break today then ? Seems that your fellow legal critic Jack McConnell agrees with you on the hospitals though - his speech writer must be a reader of this blog :p
see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/5083860.stm

Archie