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"Amazing, tender care from the superb Margaret Kerr Unit."

About: Borders Community Services / Community Nursing Borders General Hospital / Accident & Emergency Borders General Hospital / Acute Assessment Unit Borders General Hospital / Borders Macmillan Centre Borders General Hospital / General Surgery (Ward 7) Margaret Kerr Unit

(as a service user),

After being diagnosed with disseminated SCLC following a walk-in visit to the BGH A&E unit, my lovely partner had a week on Ward 7 where her care and the attention given to her were nothing short of excellent. After being discharged pending a Consultant Oncologist appointment the following week, we began planning the next steps with hope for one or maybe two years together subject to her yet to be determined treatment plans. 

Unfortunately, during the first weekend home her condition deteriorated and with help of the brilliant Community Palliative Care Team, I had to re-admit her to Borders General, to try and ascertain if she was suffering medication side effects or progressive illness symptoms.

Again the care given to her by all in the Acute Assessment Unit and Ward 6 was excellent. After 12 hours on Ward 6 we were able to move my parnter down to the Margaret Kerr Unit. We had discussed her end-of-life care during the earlier days and talks with the Palliative Care Team and the MKU was her choice for the end. We simply didn't expect it to be quite so soon. Less than 36 hours from reaching her beautiful room in the Margaret Kerr Unit, she was taken from me by her disease despite the excellent, dignified and tender care received by all the staff there. Similarly, the Doctors and staff also treated me, her husband, with such tenderness and thoughtfulness at what was a distressing time. I cannot thank enough, all those involved in our seventeen day traumatic experience at the Borders General and in particular at the Margaret Kerr Unit. 

I would urge everyone to support the Margaret Kerr Unit at every opportunity. It is an oasis of peace, calm and support in what otherwise would be an ocean storm of distress, confusion and emotional turmoil. 


Response from Dr Annabel Howell, Associate Medical Director, NHS Borders

picture of Dr Annabel Howell

Thanks so much grateful spouse for your thoughtful, informative and very emotive feedback - we always strive to provide holistic care and support to our patients and families who become part of our family. We sadly cannot change what is happening in terms of disease progression but can make a difference to how that impacts on the person and their family. The whole team consider it a privilege to provide that care though at times that can be challenging on us as human beings. Your feedback helps us to know we are on the right track and I will share it with them. It will strengthen us moving forward. We do also have various activities you may want to come to in the future and we look forward to seeing you if that is right for you. Thanks again from all of us and thinking of you at this time

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Response from Katie Morris, General Manager - Planned Care & Commissioning, NHS Borders

Thank you Grateful Spouse for your feedback. It is so lovely to hear of the care and attention given to your wife - we will be sure to pass this onto the teams involved.

Thinking of you and your family at this time

Best wishes


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Response from Lynn Mccallum, Consultant Physician. Clinical Director of Unscheduled Care, Acute Medicine, NHS Borders

picture of Lynn Mccallum

Dear Grateful Spouse,

Thank you for taking the time during this incredibly difficult period, to tell us of your wife's story and of her care in the Borders General Hospital. I am not ashamed to tell you that I shed a tear as I read it, reflecting on the incredible honour that our jobs allow, in caring for people in the most vulnerable periods of their lives.

As a healthcare professional, I try to approach all care of patients in the manner that I would wish my own family to be treated and I know that all of my colleagues think similarly. It sounds to me as though your wife had an incredibly rapid journey from diagnosis to the end of her life which always feels horribly unfair, clearly to the patient themselves and their relatives but also to the healthcare staff looking after them. I am so glad that your wife was well cared for in her final days and that we cared for you too, as the care of relatives in a palliative care situation is incredibly important. They are the people who will go on with the memory of their loved ones and the experiences they had and I am really glad that we were able to make your final days together, peaceful and dignified.

I will ensure that the team in Ward 6 and AAU will see your review and I am sure that Dr Howell will ensure that the team in MKU also have the opportunity to read your incredibly kind words. Reviews like yours lift morale and remind us why we chose to work within healthcare - in order to be able to make the difference at an incredibly difficult time.

With very best wishes,

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