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Borders farmers 'frustrated' by CAP payment wait

Credit: ITV Border

An MSP says farmers in the Borders continue to be frustrated as many are still waiting for CAP payments, eight months after they were due to receive them.

Support payments to farmers have faced delays in being paid due to problems with the Scottish Government’s new IT system for farm payments.

John Lamont says he received this clear message as he spoke to many local residents at the Border Union Show, where he also met with representatives from NFU Scotland, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Scottish Borders Business Forum.

Farmers in the Borders are due over £50 million in funding, which they usually receive in December and this delay is harming their businesses and other local businesses which rely on the agricultural sector.

With applications for next year due to open soon, there is real and justified concern that this problem is just going to get worse."

– John Lamont MSP

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Borders school with five pupils left closes

Credit: Google Maps

Eccles Leitholm primary school in Kelso has closed its doors after being left with just five pupils.

Scottish Borders Council has now decided to mothball the building for 12 months before deciding whether to close it for good.

Children have been educated in Eccles for the past 142 years, but pupil numbers have fallen steadily over the last three years.

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Kelso hospital re-opens to new inpatients

Credit: PA

The inpatient ward at Kelso Hospital has re-opened following recent cases of confirmed norovirus at the end of November.

The hospital is urging visitors to pay attention to prevention notices throughout the ward and to comply with medical staff.

Although the Borders General Hospital and our Community Hospitals currently have no ward closures this can change very quickly. In order to safeguard vulnerable patients and enable us to limit the spread of this highly infectious virus, we continue to ask members of the public to carefully consider their visits to the hospital, and that anyone who has experienced diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms in the past 48 hours does not visit the hospital."

– Evelyn Rodger, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Acute services

New £21m Kelso school finally gets go-ahead

An artist's impression of the new school. Credit: Scottish Borders Council

The building of a new £21.4 million school in Kelso has been given the go-ahead, and is expected to begin in early 2016.

Kelso High School will be built at Nethershot on Angraflat Road.

The project had stalled because of a European ruling, which affected ten schools and two health centres across the country.

But the Scottish Government now says that has been resolved.

I am pleased that the issues which have held back the new Kelso High School have finally been settled.

It has been a frustrating period for everyone associated with the school including the wider community, and the people of Kelso should be thanked for their patience during this time.

The new school will include grass and synthetic sports pitches and community facilities, which will provide health and educational benefits for not just generations of schoolchildren but the whole town.”

– Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Scottish Borders Council

Norovirus confirmed at Kelso Hospital

The 23-bed inpatient ward at Kelso Hospital remains closed to new admissions due as patients are confirmed as having norovirus.

The situation is being monitored and managed by NHS Borders Infection Prevention and Control Team.

Last week, Health Protection Scotland announced that there has been an increase in levels of norovirus (sometimes called the winter vomiting bug) across Scotland.

“Norovirus has been confirmed in Kelso Hospital and is circulating around the community. In order to safeguard vulnerable patients and support our efforts to limit the spread of this highly infectious virus, we continue to ask members of the public to carefully consider their visits to community hospitals and the Borders General Hospital. This advice is particularly relevant to anyone who has experienced diahorrea and vomiting symptoms in the past 48 hours.”

– Alasdair Pattinson, General Manager for Primary and Community Services

“Norovirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea and vomiting illness. It is very infectious and spreads quickly between people. This is why outbreaks happen in hospitals where a number of people are sharing facilities. However it doesn’t just occur in hospitals, and can start abruptly and spread quickly through communities. It is vital to protect yourselves and your loved ones from catching this unpleasant virus. Patients, visitors and staff can help minimise the spread by complying with instructions given by staff and paying attention to the signs at the entrances to the hospital and wards.”

– Dr Ed James, Consultant Microbiologist
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