Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, has commended NHS Borders for delivering high standards of service.

“It is clear NHS Borders is making significant progress in taking forward a challenging agenda on a number of fronts” says the Cabinet Secretary in a letter to the Chairman of NHS Borders, John Raine.

She adds: “I am confident you are not complacent and you recognise that there remains much to do.”

Shona Robison`s letter delivers a Government verdict on the Board`s performance in the last financial year as outlined at the annual public review held last September.

She makes particular mention of:

  • the “what matters to you” public engagement programme which drew replies from 700 people, providing information that will help with the design of services to meet local needs.
  • the “enthusiasm and considered questions” from the public audience at the formal review.
  • the high performance achieved in delivering and exceeding targets for smoking cessation and for alcohol brief interventions.
  • excellent performance against the four hour emergency care target and against a “suit” of elective access targets and standards including the 12 week treatment time guarantee.
  • recognising “the hard work and dedication required to produce such an excellent performance” against the access targets for cancer treatment.
  • the commitment of the Board and Scottish Borders Council working in partnership to effectively implement integrated health and social care services.
  • meeting all of our financial targets in the year 2015/16 despite a challenging year

The Cabinet Secretary has asked the Board to keep focus on reducing sickness absence rates which remained just above the four per cent standard whilst being better than the average rate for Scotland; to improve waiting times for access to psychological therapies and to child and adolescent mental health services, which had been impacted by difficulty filling staff vacancies and to work through the challenges for outpatient appointments in particular specialties.

On budgets, Shona Robison says: “Clearly overall economic conditions mean that public sector budgets will continue to be tight whilst demand for health services will continue to grow. Nonetheless, you confirmed that the Board continues to actively monitor the achievement of all efficiency programmes and, whilst the position is challenging, NHS Borders remains fully committed to meeting its financial responsibilities in 2016/17 and beyond.”

John Raine said: “The Cabinet Secretary`s response has been welcomed by the Board. It recognises the efforts of our NHS staff and must give confidence to Borders people.”