GP crisis hits medical centres
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 August.
Each week we invite our readers to send in a photograph they would like to see in the Courier.
And now we are offering a prize to the best photographers.
Each month we will pick the best snap and, courtesy of Scotframes.co.uk, the winner will get an A3 copy of their entry.
Send photos as jpg attachments with details to jean. firstname.lastname@example.org or stuart.vance@trinitymirror. com, or you can post them to West Lothian Courier, 20-22 King Street, Bathgate, EH48 1AX.
Scotframes.co.uk is a supplier of picture framing at 6-10 Glasgow Road, Bathgate. Call them on 01506 209946. Good luck to all entrants!
Restricted list Ashgrove in Blackburn