Vil­lagers slam ‘no show Cathie’

Peo­ple are still wait­ing four weeks for ap­point­ment

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - John Row­botham

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

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