Medical practice merger
The merger of Campbeltown Medical Practice (CMP) and Kintyre Medical Group (KMG) according to last week’s Courier is looking positive.
This is news to those of us who have been meeting with a representative from the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership for at least two years.
I am involved as a representative from Southend and from the Health and Social Care Forum (HSCF) and struggle to understand why this is thought to be a good idea.
We are told it is a strategic plan but have found that due to a number of circumstances the KMG practice and proposed merger is unlike anywhere else due to some unique problems.
To date, negotiations have consisted of an NHS representative meeting separately with CMP, KMG staff and representatives of the patient focus group.
The focus group was formed to negotiate for the patients from West Kintyre, Gigha and Southend.
They are happy with what they have apart from the lack of a full complement of GPs – partly due to the NHS decision to not provide a permanent contract – due to the strategic plan and the resulting uncertainty.
The concerns raised by KMG are in relation to pharmacy, surgery and GP times and visits.
We are told that CMP confirmed that it would continue to meet the needs of the local community but to date CMP has refused to meet with the KMG representatives.
A rural practice is not the same as one in the town. We have less access to transport which itself is limited, a greater proportionally older population and in the summer the population can double with holidaymakers.
If CMP takes on KMG it will be at liberty to make changes – what guarantee would KMG patients have if surgery times are reduced, as well as pharmacy (which to date they have refused to take on) and visits to patients in outlying areas?
We are told we would be able to access the Campbeltown surgery which may benefit those who work in the town.
It is obvious that yet again KMG patients and their concerns are not included and has been prompted by the input from Michael Russell MSP to the partnership as a result of the KMG focus group calling on him for help.