CARE bosses in the Borders are secretly plotting to shed up to 20 jobs in Galashiels.

And the redundancies could be rubber-stamped just days before Christmas.

Staff at the Bordercare Community Alam Service as well as their union representatives have all been gagged while talks continue.

But the Border Telegraph understands that up to 20 jobs are on the line - mainly at the Bordercare control centre in Albert Place - as SB Cares senior management attempt to outsource parts of the service to neighbouring East Lothian.

The 24-hour control centre in Galashiels, which is part of the local authority's arms-length organisation SB Cares, deals with all emergencies from the region's elderly and infirm who are signed up to the alarm service.

Despite staff having to sign confidentiality agreements, one anxious worker told us: "There is a lot of anger about what is going on.

"We know that they want to move the contact centre service and it is unlikely we'll have jobs at the end of it.

"Nobody is allowed to talk about this which makes it even worse."

Bordercare alarms are fitted in thousands of homes across the region to enable users to get help if they have an accident, a fall or suffer an illness.

The 24-hour monitored service, which controversially increased in price last year from £156 to £280, allows for the elderly and infirm to continue living independently within their own homes.

It is understood that detailed documents outlining the plans to close the control centre were recently due to go before councillors in private.

But they were withdrawn at the eleventh hour.

The redrafted proposals are expected to return to the table under private business for the Scottish Borders Council meeting on December 21.

In a prepared statement an SB Cares spokesperson told the Border Telegraph: “We are exploring different service delivery model options for the existing Bordercare service.

"Staff have been informed and a proposal will be taken to Scottish Borders Council in due course.

"Any staffing implications will be discussed with staff and trades unions as required.”

The care staff's union UNISON has been ordered to remain tight-lipped while talks continue.

A spokeswoman said: "We are unable to comment at the moment."

The move by SB Cares comes just two months after a damning report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland branded the leadership and direction of elderly care in the region as 'weak'.

Inspectors highlighted many failings within the region's recently formed Health and Social Care Partnership.

And bosses were given a list of 13 improvements to be made ahead of a follow-up inspection.