Medical Practice in Peebles

patient might have to wait a day for their appointment but if their case was deemed to be urgent they were always fitted in.


For many years it had been realised that the War Memorial Hospital had many shortcomings. It had not been designed as a hospital, being simply a conversion of two semi-detached houses. There were two separate staircases and the many awkward corners round which to manipulate a stretcher was a real problem. Occasional serious flooding occurred when the River Tweed came down in spate. So the provision of a new purpose-built hospital had always been a dream. The Borders Hospital Board of Management had long since acquired the property known as Hay Lodge at the top of the Old Town. The house they had used as a physiotherapy department and the kitchen-garden was used for growing produce to supply the hospital. Here was an opportunity - they had a site suitable for building and it was decided to build there. It was quite a number of years before the plans materialised, not, in fact, until 1983 when it was officially opened by HRH Princess Alexandra. Within the building, consulting rooms were also incorporated for the local practitioners and visiting consultants who continued to hold outpatients clinics, physiotherapy services, chiropody and dental services.

No major surgery is undertaken in the new hospital, all such cases being dealt with, up until April 1988, at the Peel Hospital and after that date the new Borders General Hospital near Melrose. Nor is there any longer a maternity department and for delivery, patients are transferred either to the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion in Edinburgh or to the Borders General Hospital. Ante-natal care is shared by the general practitioners along with obstetric consultants.

So it can be seen that over the years in which the author was in practice, great changes have come about. These, I feel, are for the most part advantageous, though there are some fields in general practice which have, to a large extent, passed out of the hands of the family doctor and this, to some of the senior ones, may give cause for some regret.