ALMOST a quarter of all planned operations in the Borders were cancelled during March.

Of the 458 planned procedures 101 didn't go ahead at Borders General Hospital.

But bosses at NHS Borders believe the Beast from the East storms are partly to blame.

Claire Pearce, director of Nursing, Midwifery and Acute Services, told us: "This winter has been cited as one of the worst amongst health and social care colleagues with winter pressures continuing into March.

"The Beast from the East brought adverse weather and heavy snowfall which directly accounted for a quarter of planned procedures being postponed over a four day period

“Our staff worked tirelessly against these challenges and undertook surgery on 357 people, which was a 15 percent increase from the previous month.

"We had planned to see 458 people; however we had to postpone 101 of these scheduled procedures."

The storms at the beginning of March led to 28 operations being cancelled between Thursday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 6.

Throughout the month patient cancellations resulted in a further 16 procedures not going ahead.

And bed blocking also led to 43 operations being cancelled throughout the month.

Ms Pearce added: "In 43 cases procedures were postponed due to bed availability, because there were a number of very sick emergency patients requiring care in the Borders General Hospital.

"Patients are at the very heart of what we do and patient safety remains our number one priority. This is why we only go ahead with scheduled operations when it is safe to do so.

"We continue to work very hard to drive down cancellation rates and minimise disruption for patients and their families."