AFTER recent delays at Borders General Hospital, NHS Borders has revealed that there are no more planned bed closures for 2019/2020.

This comes after significant delays at the hospital's A&E Department two weeks ago.

As previously reported, on Friday, November 15, Borders General Hospital requested that patients avoid A&E unless in an emergency, and advised patients to consider using an alternative service such as their GP, pharmacist, minor injuries unit or calling 111.

In the statement made on November 15, Nicky Berry, director of nursing, midwifery & acute services at BGH, said: "We are currently experiencing exceptionally high demand in our Accident and Emergency department which is putting pressure on bed availability in the hospital.

"We are working hard to discharge patients who are well enough to go home to create some more space, however this takes time."

A spokeswoman for NHS Borders added: "In common with the rest of Scotland, we have seen an increase in the number of people attending our Emergency Department (ED).

"On Friday 15 November 102 people attended our ED. Twenty-three people waited more than four hours to be treated before being admitted into hospital, discharged home or transferred to another healthcare location.

"When someone presents at ED in many instances they require diagnostics such as blood tests, x ray and scans which can take time and add pressure to the system leading to potential delays. As we move into the winter period pressure on the system increases.

"We work hard to discharge patients who are well enough to go home to create some more space, however this can take time. We look after some very sick people throughout the year but particularly during winter so it is important that people only go to the Emergency Department if they have an illness or injury that is serious and requires urgent medical attention."

In September and October this year, two six-bedded bays from the Department of Medicine and Elderly Care ward were closed as part of the hospital's older people's pathway, which aims to treat elderly patients closer to home.

A claim was also made by a member of the public that A&E staff were treating patients in ambulances outside the hospital.

The spokeswoman for NHS Borders said: "The Border Telegraph have asked if patients were treated in ambulances outside the BGH by our ED staff. We can confirm that this was not the case."