NHS FoI: There was no pandemic in the Scottish Borders

This is the latest in a series of Freedom of Information-based studies of Covid deaths in Scottish regions by the same author.


One of the fourteen health boards within NHS Scotland is NHS Borders, which provides healthcare services for the council area of the Scottish Borders and covers around 110,000 people. The NHS Borders head office is located in Melrose, and Borders General Hospital (known locally as the BGH) is the main hospital serving this region, one of the largest in area of Scotland’s 32 councils.


Impact of ‘the virus’ in 2020—Christmas disruption

The Chief Executive of NHS Borders, Ralph Roberts, is on record having said the following

While I fully understand the disappointment many of us will feel having our Christmas plans disrupted, I would urge everyone to seriously consider how they can reduce their risk of catching Covid–19 in the run up to Christmas and on Christmas Day itself.

He went on to say, regarding the imposition of the most stringent tier of lockdown by the Scottish Government as soon as the Christmas public holiday had ended (emphasis added):

NHS Borders is asking people to fully comply with the new restrictions within Level 4 that will be in place from one minute past midnight on Boxing Day. This will be essential if we are to continue to protect our loved ones and also if we are to ensure that the health service is not overwhelmed.


2020 hospital admissions—a third below normal

As you can see below, the health service of NHS Borders in 2020 was at no stage even close to being “overwhelmed”. When the Chief Executive made those statements in late December, hospital admissions were 34% below average, and specific attendance at Accident & Emergency departments in the region was 28% below average. 


Image 1

Hospital admissions generally, and Accident & Emergency attendance specifically, fell dramatically below the 2018–2019 rate as soon as the first Covid emergency measures took effect in March 2020 and remained distinctly below the seasonal prior rate throughout the rest of 2020. These screenshots are captured with the mouse hovering in the right position to display in the tooltip text box the data breakdown for the week before Christmas. Source: NHS Borders data

Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, said at the same time: 

It is exceptionally important that everyone plays their part to minimise the spread of this highly infectious virus.


Why no reports of the good news?

Despite these statements, the stunning reality was that there had been almost no deaths directly from Covid–19’ in 2020 at any NHS Borders hospital, and—crucially—no hospital in the Scottish Borders has recorded a single death from the virus since at least January 2022.


Image 2

Freedom of Information Act response to the author by NHS Borders

Moreover, all Covid-only registered deaths during the peak of ‘the pandemic’ in 2020 were in age cohorts that were above 65 years. Is this strong enough justification to close schools, break up worship gatherings and restrict livelihoods?


Image 3

Age breakdown of Covid-only deaths at Scottish Borders hospitals during the three years of the alleged pandemic. Not one of the entries in the entire table meets the threshold (in the interest of privacy) of five people to permit the actual number to be disclosed. Source: FoI response

NHS Borders Covid versus non-Covid mortality

Even the number of deaths where ‘Covid’ was, in the more generous definition, registered as an underlying cause in patients with serious pre-existing co-morbidities was extremely low in comparison to non-Covid causes of death in the region from 2020 to 2023. This prompts the question: why wasn’t Councillor Haslam concerned about the non-Covid deaths, if they were likely to be killing more of her constituents?


Image 4

Deaths at Scottish Borders hospitals registered as not being due to Covid, from the same source as above.

No Covid deaths under 45

As we can see below, ‘Covid–19’ as the registered underlying cause of death at all NHS Borders hospitals occured only in age groups above 45 for the whole three years of ‘the pandemic’, and the vast majority of these occurred at Borders General Hospital.

All other hospitals in the area had such small numbers of ‘Covid–19’ deaths recorded that they were unable to release the accurate figures due to privacy regulations.


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‘Vaccine’ efficacy on the death rate seems negative

No mortality benefit is apparent from the mass ‘vaccination’ campaign in comparison to 2020 (the first Covid injection in the United Kingdom was administered on 8 December 2020), as there were 22.5% more ‘Covid–19 deaths in 2021—this after 12 million inoculations of the 5½ million population of Scotland. It was in the year 2022 that the highest number of elderly Scots in the 75+ age bracket (the age cohort deemed most at risk) died during the Covid ‘pandemic’, despite their having received in most cases several—up to six or possibly more—doses of the novel mRNA jabs (better described as modified RNA).

Interestingly, NHS Borders actually achieved the highest Covid–19 ‘vaccination’ uptake in Scotland for those aged over 75, for care home residents and for those with weakened immune systems—the three demographics who were deemed most at risk. 


Image 6

Scotland’s national Covid–19 injection rate and its breakdown into the fourteen health board areas, showing that the rural south and north-east and the outlying islands were the most compliant regions. Source: NHS Scotland

Now that the same phenomenon has been seen in a great deal of health board data, it has become very apparent that the death toll from ‘the virus’, as well as ‘other causes’, only increased after the rollout of the experimental Covid–19 injections. Another illustration of this is that in the current year, 2023, there are still many ‘Covid–19’ deaths (in the sense of dying with Covid–19) occurring at Borders General Hospital even after the population is fully ‘vaccinated’, which is salient when compared to the 2020 situation without any ‘vaccines’. 


Record Covid ’cases’ with ‘vaccines’

As soon as the first couple of weeks of the Covid–19 ‘vaccination’ programme in Scotland, around Christmas 2020, the mainstream media were already reporting a record number of Covid–19 patients arriving at Borders hospitals:

The health board is urging residents to 'stay at home' after cases of coronavirus continue to surge across the area.

At the time, overall hospital admissions remained well below normal levels, as the next graph below illustrates.


Official chaos continues into the second vaccination year

In high summer 2022, it was reported that Borders General Hospital had cancelled routine operations because its staff were facing "extreme pressures". The chief executive of NHS Borders, Ralph Roberts, said:

Our beds are fully occupied and our Emergency Department is exceptionally busy, with a number of people requiring admission.

However, just as we saw above with statements made in 2020, Accident & Emergency department attendance levels at that time were not unusual and were 13% below average. Overall admissions to hospital in the Borders were 27% below average. 


Image 7

Clearly below-average numbers of medical emergencies in the Borders in the first year, the first two years, and all three years of the alleged pandemic respectively. Source: NHS Borders

What about Borders care homes 2020–2021?

The official care home data for the region (which was only ever updated until May 2021 and not for the remaining two years of the alleged pandemic) shows that most Borders care homes had fewer than five ‘Covid’ deaths in the first 18 months of ‘the pandemic’, when ‘the virus’ was by wide acknowledgement at its most dangerous.


Image 8

Care home deaths "involving" Covid in the Borders in the first twelve months of the alleged pandemic. Source: NRS

All-cause mortality data shows no pandemic in the Borders

Despite the repeated hysterical statements by the officials and the mainstream media—in this corner of Scotland as further afield—the real-world data was far more positive, yet never reported. Deaths from all causes at Borders General Hospital in 2020 were 13% below average. All hospitals within this health board area had suffered many more deaths in numerous recent years prior to ‘the pandemic’. There was also negligible impact of ‘the virus’ within Borders care homes. These unarguable facts are unmistakably light years away from the version of reality propagated by politicians and the mainstream media.


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The final part of the NHS Borders Freedom of Information response to the author: all-cause mortality at all hospitals in the region. ("ED" in the legend of the spreadsheet stands for Emergency Department, the name used for the A&E department at the largest hospital, Borders General Hospital.)

Funeral data—a final nail in the (empty) coffin for pandemic claims

One can only conclude from this data there was no unusually powerful pathogen circulating in the Scottish Borders in 2020 and beyond. To claim otherwise, based on the National Health Service facts presented above, would be delusional. As is now well known, lockdowns kill people.

As in my last article on the equivalent data for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, I end with a source of data independent of the health system: funerals, specifically burials, registered by the local council covering the Borders.


Image 10

Burials in the Scottish Borders five years prior to the alleged pandemic and for the first two years of the alleged pandemic. Source: FoI response to the author

Therefore, one has to wonder: if the Scottish Government had not placed any restrictions on the population in 2020, would the year have passed as any other normal year, with even fewer overall deaths and harm than actually was the case? This was the conclusion reached by prominent researcher Dr Denis Rancourt when analysing Canadian mortality data. 

My studies for UK Column will continue with several more Scottish regions.


Main article image: Scottish Government  | licence CC BY-SA 4.0