HEALTH bosses in the Borders will need an emergency loan of as much as £13million by the end of this year to keep wards open.

The huge financial deficit was disclosed last week in the Scottish Parliament.

NHS Borders is one of four health boards across the country that are unable to balance this year's books.

Although the identified funding gap at Newstead is expected to reduce during 2018/19, best estimates still predict a shortfall of over £11million.

And the cash will need to be made up through brokerage loans from the Scottish Government.

Local MP John Lamont believes the announcement highlights a lack of investment. He said: “The Scottish Government have repeatedly claimed that everything is fine at NHS Borders and they are getting the funding the need.

“These figures confirm the opposite to be true.

"The fact that NHS Borders has had to go to the Government, cap in hand, to ask for £13m just to run day to day services, is a scandal."

Health boards across the country are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS being founded.

But chiefs at NHS Tayside, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and NHS Highland along with NHS Borders aren't in the mood for parties after identifying operating shortfalls totalling £70.9million.

Local MSP Rachael Hamilton added: “It’s a worrying financial position for NHS Borders to be faced with.

“The Scottish Government should support NHS Borders to put them on a sound financial footing with measures such as proper workforce planning so that NHS Borders didn’t have to rely so much on expensive agency staff costs.

“It’s clear that the Scottish Government have not understood the needs of a rural health board like NHS Borders.”

Since the recent funding scandal at NHS Tayside, which saw the Scottish Government bail them out with over £33million in loans, health boards are now required to publish their finances every month.

In the past NHS Borders has managed to balance its books despite pressures.

But bosses admit they are now struggling to find the cuts required to stay afloat.

A spokeswoman said: "Until this year, our finances have been managed within budget.

"It has become more challenging over time and more difficult to find sufficient efficiencies or savings to cover the level of inflation and cost pressures that we have to meet.

"Our 2018/19 financial plan now outlines £13.3million of savings to be delivered, however there is still a substantial gap of £11.5million and we continue to work hard to reduce this deficit further.”

The Scottish Government has replaced outgoing Health Secretary Shona Robison, with Jeane Freeman.

She believes all health boards are working towards providing vale for money.

Ms Freeman stated: "There is rising demand on our NHS, with increased expectations and an ageing population, so it is crucial we have a transparent and open approach to finances.

“I expect all health boards to continue to develop their plans and work towards delivering a balanced financial position over the course of the remaining financial year, while ensuring they provide safe and effective care and deliver best value for money.”