SERVICES for older people in the Borders are on the mend, according to government inspectors.

Back in 2017 a major inspection by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate found that the region's elderly were being badly let down by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders.

The inspection team compiled a damning report with 13 separate recommendations for improvement.

A follow-up review by the same watchdog bodies towards the end of last year has found progress is being made across all aspects of care for older people.

The region's Health and Social Care Partnership, which delivers services on behalf of the local authority and health board's Scottish Borders Integration Joint Board, has addressed each of the recommendations with improvements continuing to be made.

Clear strategies were found to now be in place for post-hospital care, care at home and specialist care.

But there remains a requirement for better consultation with clients and staff about the continuing changes.

Ann Gow, deputy chief executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: "This was a positive review with progress made in key areas.

"In order to continue making progress, the partnership recognised the need to improve both self-evaluation and ongoing evaluation of initiatives and approaches.

"In addition, engagement and consultation with stakeholders needs to become more meaningful, and appropriate representation must be included and valued.”

In the original report from 2017 a lack of leadership and direction were identified as major problems.

And that attempted joint-up working between health and council department officers was also proving problematic.

But the follow-up review has found that there is now 'a commitment to a shared direction of travel and increased strengthening of joint working at a strategic level'.

And that 'constructive working relationships had evolved'.

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, added: "Given the positive findings from our latest review, we do not intend to conduct any further scrutiny in relation to this inspection.

"Instead, we will continue to engage with the partnership about the possibility of offering further support on identified areas for improvement.

"People want to experience care that is consistently high quality, with health and social care staff working well together to support people in a way that promotes their rights and choices.

"There is still a lot of work for this partnership to do to continue to improve services for older people across the Scottish Borders health and social care partnership.”

The planned £2.5 million redevelopment of Deanfield Care Home in Hawick along with an additional 40 extra care housing places being created across the Borders each year was highlighted during the inspection.

And the 70 extra care beds currently under development in Galashiels and Duns was also noted.

The scrapping of SB Cares, and bringing home care services back in-house, was seen as a positive move along with long-term plans for a new care village being created in Tweedbank.

Information being available at What Matters community hubs and a more comprehensive service for dementia sufferers were also highlighted.

Dr Stephen Mather, chair of the region's Integration Joint Board, has welcomed the findings.

He said: ”The Board has worked hard to ensure a professional and supportive relationship operates across all partners involved in the delivery of health and social care services.

"This includes health, council, housing, care providers, carers, our voluntary sector and directly with those people who benefit from our services.

"This report gives all of these partners recognition of their efforts and commitment to improving the lives of all who live in the Borders.”