AN £800,000 expansion and improvement project at Borders General Hospital's Macmillan Cancer Centre has ground to a halt after the builder's firm went bust.

T Graham and Son entered into voluntary liquidation at the end of May.

A total of 27 jobs were lost with the collapse of the Langholm-based firm.

And the Macmillan Cancer Centre improvements are unlikely now to restart until after the summer.

Carol Gillie, NHS Borders Director of Finance, told us: “Firstly I would like to express my sympathy for the employees of T Graham and Son who have lost their jobs as a result of this situation.

"The works, which were at an early stage, are currently on pause whilst we follow due process to appoint a new contractor.

"We anticipate that this will be a minimum of three months.

"Recognising the importance of the project to the many stakeholders involved we aim to resume work on site as soon as we possibly can.

“I would like to reassure everyone who has generously donated to this project that their donations are ring-fenced and will be used for the purposes they were intended.

"I would also like to reassure patients and their families and carers that there will be no impact on their treatment during the pause, or when works restart later in the year.”

The £800,000 project to transform the existing centre has been funded by a substantial £400,000 contribution from Macmillan Cancer Support with the remainder coming from the NHS Borders charity, The Difference who ran a successful ‘Give Us A Hand – Help Us Expand’ fundraising appeal.

Hundreds of people dug deep with donations and fundraising efforts to help The Difference reach their fundraising target ahead of schedule in March.

Macmillan’s Head of Services in Scotland, Janice Preston added: “We are saddened to hear of this local company going into liquidation and all the people this will affect.

"The impact on the expansion and improvement works will be kept to a minimum and we would like to reassure everyone locally who generously donated towards this development that we will be working with NHS Borders to get work underway again later in the year.

"We look forward to sharing updates on our progress in the coming months.”