CRUCIAL mental health services in the Borders are being withdrawn.

And it appears nobody at NHS Borders is telling the patients.

It was revealed earlier this year that the local health board's finance director Carol Gillie had identified a required £12.7 million savings - including £1.3 million from mental health services - as the authority attempts to balance the books.

This week a 31-year-old man from Peebles only found out his 'talking therapy' service had been scrapped when he turned up for his appointment at Hay Lodge Hospital.

And he has been left searching for answers ever since.

The man, who we agreed not to name, told us: "I turned up for my counselling appointment as normal only to be told it couldn't place as the service had been stopped.

"I take time off work to go as the sessions have really helped me, but I was left feeling terrible that nobody had even got in touch to let me know what was going on.

"I was told at the hospital to phone NHS Borders about the service being stopped, but they then told me to call Hay Lodge.

"I'm just getting passed from pillar to post without anyone telling me what's going on."

NHS Borders' mental health service has come in for criticism over the past few years.

And the specialist services regularly fail to meet the government's waiting-time targets.

The man added: "I was on a waiting list for around nine months and was just relieved to finally get help.

"The hour-long sessions have helped me enormously over the past five months and I can't praise the counsellor enough.

"I was starting to cope a lot better with my life, but that's now been taken away.

"The Scottish government keeps telling us that dealing with mental health is a priority, but it doesn't feel like that's the case in the Borders."

NHS Borders say they will now attempt to alert all patients to the cuts.

A spokeswoman said: "We are sorry about the lack of clarity around the provision of this service.

"NHS Borders were not in a position to advise patients directly as we are not aware of who has been referred.

"Now that this has been brought to our attention we are working with colleagues to clarify ongoing arrangements so that patients can be advised accordingly.”