PLANS to close a mental health hospital in Galashiels have been ditched by NHS Borders.

Health chiefs announced plans to relocate the ward at Galavale to Hawick almost two years ago.

The £1.87 million move would have seen all 28 staff at the Tweed Road rehab centre relocated 18 miles away to the former Hawick Cottage Hospital at Crumhaugh House.

The move, which was due to take place last summer, would also have seen the number of inpatient beds reduced from 16 to 13.

In a dramatic U-turn bosses within the Mental Health Rehabilitation Service requested not to progress the planned move.

And their request has now been upheld by members of the board.

Dr Cliff Sharp, associate medical director at NHS Borders told us: “Back in 2015 we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders including service users, elected members, community councillors and local residents to seek views on the potential relocation of the East/West Brigs Ward.

“The vacant Crumhaugh House property, owned by NHS Borders, was identified in an options appraisal process carried out by NHS Borders to be suitable environment from which to provide patients with a high quality, safe, equitable and accessible service.

"The business case was approved by the board in August 2015.

"However since then there have been a number of changes in the provision of the service at Galavale which has called into question the decision to relocate to Crumhaugh.

"After very careful consideration I took the somewhat unusual step of going back to the board and requesting that we did not progress with the relocation to Hawick. On the basis of the information presented to them the board approved the request."

The original plans were for the former Galashiels Cottage Hospital, which first opened in 1895, to be sold off.

Following the U-turn the NHS Borders board will investigate alternative uses for Crumhaugh House.

Dr Sharp added: "In light of this decision which has been communicated to affected patients, families, carers and our staff, I would like to assure you that the board will restart the process to find a suitable alternative use for the Crumhaugh House property.”

Crumhaugh House has previously been on the open market during 2013 with an asking price of £200,000, but failed to attract a buyer.