GP cri­sis hits med­i­cal cen­tres

West Lothian Courier - - News - Sean O’Neil

West Loth­ian pa­tients are feel­ing the ef­fects of the GP cri­sis in Scot­land with three med­i­cal cen­tres cur­rently run­ning a re­stricted pa­tient list.

The med­i­cal prac­tices in Ar­madale, Ash­grove and Car­mon­dean are cur­rently run­ning the re­stricted lists which can mean any­thing from prac­tices re­fus­ing to take new pa­tients to lim­it­ing the num­ber of reg­is­tra­tions per week.

David Small, Pri­mary Care Pol­icy lead at NHS Loth­ian, said the re­stric­tions are due to dif­fi­cul­ties in re­cruit­ing GPs.

Mr Small said: “GP prac­tices across Loth­ian are work­ing hard to main­tain ac­cess for pa­tients but many are un­for­tu­nately fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in the re­cruit­ment of GPs – an is­sue be­ing faced by surg­eries across the coun­try.

“The de­ci­sion to re­strict the num­ber of new pa­tients who can reg­is­ter at a prac­tice is never taken lightly.

“How­ever, this tem­po­rary mea­sure does al­low prac­tices to cope with pres­sures and en­sure they can con­tinue to pro­vide a safe and ef­fec­tive ser­vice.

“The four Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ships and NHS Loth­ian are work­ing closely with lo­cal GPs to pro­vide ad­vice and sup­port, and to en­able re­stric­tions to be lifted.”

Neil Find­lay, Labour MSP for Loth­ian, said the re­stricted lists are a sign of the GP cri­sis felt around the coun­try.

Mr Find­lay said: “All across Scot­land and the Loth­i­ans we are see­ing GP prac­tices in cri­sis. There are short­ages in al­most every area with more and more GP lists be­ing closed or re­stricted.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has been warned about this for years but the sit­u­a­tion seem to get no bet­ter.

“We need ur­gent ac­tion to ad­dress the cri­sis in our gen­eral prac­tice and that means re­cruit­ing and train­ing more doc­tors.”

Damian Tim­son, leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Group in West Loth­ian, said: “There are now three GP prac­tices across West Loth­ian that have im­posed some form of re­stricted prac­tice. This is of a ma­jor con­cern to the res­i­dents of West Loth­ian, who will be wor­ried about ac­cess to a GP and how worse this sit­u­a­tion is go­ing to get.

“GPs are over­stretched across West Loth­ian and for a decade the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives have warned that Scot­land faces a GP cri­sis. Just as with the Pae­di­atric Ward at St John’s, work­force plan­ning has not been good enough and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment need to ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity, take ac­tion and fix the mess that has hap­pened un­der their poor man­age­ment.”

Fiona Hyslop, SNP MSP for Lin­lith­gow said she had con­tacted NHS Loth­ian about the re­stricted lists in her con­stituency.

Ms Hyslop said: “Ar­madale GP prac­tice has had pres­sure for some time be­cause of dif­fi­cul­ties re­cruit­ing new GPs after sev­eral re­tire­ments.

“I con­tacted NHS Loth­ian and se­cured con­fir­ma­tion that they would be set­ting up a sec­ond prac­tice as part of the ex­ten­sive new build in Ar­madale which is also adding to pres­sures.

“Ash­grove Prac­tice in Black­burn is a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion and again I have been in con­tact with NHS Loth­ian over the last few months and there is a tem­po­rary pro­gramme in place to try and cope with cur­rent pres­sures.”

Angela Con­stance, SNP MSP for Al­mond Val­ley, said: “It is dis­ap­point­ing that any GP prac­tice has to run a re­stricted pa­tient list for any rea­son.

“Every­one has the right to be reg­is­tered with a GP and I have con­tacted the prac­tice di­rectly for an up­date and hope that the sit­u­a­tion is re­solved as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

We need ur­gent ac­tion to ad­dress the cri­sis

This week’s In the Frame com­pe­ti­tion en­try comes from Courier reader Kieran Hop­kins, from Black­burn. He cap­tured this lovely photo of Praia dos Pescadores near Al­bufeira’s old town, dur­ing his re­cent hol­i­day to the Al­garve, Por­tu­gal in early...

Re­stricted list Ash­grove in Black­burn

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