Villagers slam ‘no show Cathie’
People are still waiting four weeks for appointment
Angry Aberfoyle residents complain they are still waiting up to four weeks for a routine appointment at the village’s medical centre.
It followed a snap survey carried out at last Thursday’s public meeting to discuss the latest in the row over the loss of the centre’s salaried GP.
Around 50 people attended the meeting held in the Forth Inn.
NHS Forth Valley prompted anger in the village over their proposal to withdraw £100,000 of funding which paid for the GP, who worked alongside the practice’s two other doctors.
Board chief executive Cathie Cowan said at a meeting in Aberfoyle in September they were looking at how the £100,000 could best be spent to the benefit of all practices in West Stirlingshire.
She was due to update villagers at the meeting last Thursday but postponed it until December 6 to allow changes agreed by the practice’s GPs and health chiefs to bed in.
Politicians and villagers were angry at Ms Cowan’s decision to skip the meeting with Friends of Aberfoyle and Buchlyvie Practice chairperson Gerry McGarvey dubbed her ‘no show Cathie’.
One of the changes was an increase in the number of GP sessions and opening hours at the Aberfoyle centre. At the moment it is open for four sessions a week.
However, many villagers attending the meeting were unimpressed by the move.
They demanded an “increase in the number and frequency of GP sessions until the service level is at an appropriate and acceptable level”.
A report on the meeting, prepared by Strathard Community Council representative Trevor Geraghty, stated: “On the night, a survey of users showed people were waiting up to four weeks still for a routine appointment and that is after the limited changes made.”
Villagers want additional resources made available to recognise the “remote and rural nature of the practice”.
Mr Geraghty said there was “significant justified indignation” that major decisions which would affect people’s lives and healthcare were being taken “without any obvious public accountability or requirements survey by the practice or health board”.
He added: “The point was made by several contributors that they were annoyed at the non-attendance of NHS Forth Valley and the practice.
“Urgent meaningful consultation with communities in the area must be carried out before any binding decisions are taken, The current process must be halted before proper engagement can take place.”
Mr Geraghty said patients wanted to know what services would be provided at the Aberfoyle practice, by whom and when, and what additional resources would be made available when the £100,000 was re-distributed.
There was the need for a multidisciplinary team to deliver mental health, physiotherapy, diet advice and well-woman clincs.
Mr McGarvey said: “It is shameful and reprehensible that she and NHS Forth Valley should hide behind bureaucracy and internal machinations, whilst ignoring the people who are currently suffering as a result of her deplorable attempt to engineer a redistribution of health service resources.”
Trossachs and Teith Tory councillor Martin Earl, who attended the meeting, added: “The communities must be fully involved in the discussions that are now going on behind closed doors. This is an opportunity to build a service that really addresses the needs of these communities, an opportunity that I hope both NHS FV and the practice take rather than try and impose a solution.”
His SNP counterpart Evelyn Tweed, who was also at the meeting, commented: “People are understandably concerned that decisions will be taken ahead of the meeting on December 6. I understand that this will not be the case but will remain fully engaged in this matter in the run up to next month’s meeting.”
ANHS Forth Valley spokesman said: “We have previously confirmed that no decisions will be taken ahead of the planned community meeting on December 6. Local GPs have been asked to put forward suggestions on how the available funding could be used in the future. We plan to give an update on potential options at the community meeting where there will be an opportunity for these to be discussed.”
It is shameful and reprehensible that she and NHS Forth Valley should hide behind bureaucracy
Packed Meeting in September at which the practice’s problems were discussed
Assurance Cathie Cowan