A FORMER home carer has been appointed as the permanent new chair of NHS Borders.

Karen Hamilton stood into the breach during the spring following the resignation of John Raine.

And following four months of heading the Board on an interim basis, she was given the job on a permanent basis this week.

Karen, who has been a non-executive director at NHS Borders for the past six years, told us: "I have enjoyed immensely holding the reins at NHS Borders, and look forward to continue to provide leadership to the Board now that I have been appointed on a permanent basis.

"From my early days working as a home carer to qualifying as a social worker and progressing to senior management I have gained experience across various services which has given me an overall understanding of the broad range of care needs throughout health and social care."

NHS Borders is facing some of its biggest ever challenges with overspends and debts blotting the books.

And a raft of cuts are expected in the coming months as accountants attempt to balance the finances.

Ms Hamilton added: "I am acutely aware of the complexities facing us all as a Board but I firmly believe we have the skills and capabilities within our organisation to meet the challenges ahead.

"I look forward to getting to know staff over the coming months and will welcome any opportunities to do so.”

NHS Borders is due to publish a three-year financial plan in September after receiving a second bail out from the Scottish Government this year worth £9.3 million.

And the health board has been placed on level four of Holyrood's performance management ladder - just one step away from special measures being implemented.

NHS Borders chief executive Ralph Roberts is confident the new chair can help steer the health authority to calmer waters.

He told us: "We are delighted that Karen has taken up this role.

"I know that she will bring am enthusiasm and commitment to the role, as well as her long experience of working in the health and care sector.

"I am looking forward to working closely with her to make sure that NHS Borders continues to perform well and delivers the changes we need to sustain high quality and affordable local services for our population."