A TOTAL of 50 planned operations at Borders General Hospital were cancelled during October.

And local MP John Lamont is demanding an improvement with more cash being made available.

The latest figures show that more than one-in-ten of all planned procedures for October were cancelled due to capacity issues, other clinical reasons or by the patients.

And separate statistics also show that nursing vacancies - standing at 62 - were well above national averages.

Mr Lamont believes both issues require to be urgently addressed.

He told us: "I know that staff at NHS Borders are acutely aware of the problems surrounding both cancelled operations and recruitment of staff.

“Cancellations are a waste of resources and an inconvenience to patients.

"It is concerning that in NHS Borders, half of all cancellations are down to a lack of resources and that this is a problem which simply won’t go away.

“I’ve repeatedly raised the issues of both cancellations and nurse vacancies and it is now time they take some action.

"The Scottish Government needs to rethink whether health boards with large rural populations like NHS Borders are being sufficiently resourced.

“With nurse vacancies in particular still a problem, we also need to look closely at helping with recruitment."

Half of the cancelled operations during October were due to capacity and non-clinical issues, which include staff, beds or equipment shortages.

A further 14 were due to clinical reasons and 11 were cancelled by the patient.

The October cancellation figure of 10.8 per cent is up from the previous month's 7.1 per cent.

Dr Cliff Sharp, medical director with NHS Borders, said: "Coming into hospital for an operation is an anxious time for many people and we know how important it is to patients that you are treated as soon as possible.

“There were a variety of factors behind the ‘capacity or non clinical’ cancellations - in six cases, due to demand in the BGH, there were no beds available in the appropriate wards to admit patients to, in five cases emergencies had to take priority and in four cases sickness absence was the cause.

"A further three procedures were deferred in the interest of patient safety, until an intensive care bed was available for the patients who would have required that level of care after their surgery.

“We continue to work very hard to drive down cancellation rates, regardless of monthly fluctuation, in order to improve the patient experience in this area.”