NHS BORDERS has paid out more than £1million for patients to be treated in private hospitals over the past 18 months.

Figures released by the Newstead-based authority show that during 2017/18 just under £800,000 was spent for 64 patients to be treated privately.

It cost NHS Borders a further £142,000 for four patients to go private in the final quarter of 2016/17.

And the trend has continued into this financial year with a further six patients being treated on private wards between April and August at a cost of £185,000.

The total bill for private treatment in the past 18 months is just over £1.13 million.

A spokeswoman for NHS Borders has defended the outsourcing.

She said: “We are committed to ensuring that, where possible, patients are treated locally.

"In some cases where treatment is not available locally and when it is deemed as the most appropriate pathway some patients receive treatment from private providers.”