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Moffat GP in withdrawal warning

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By Christie Breen
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Moffat GP in withdrawal warning

PATIENTS in Moffat were taken aback this week after it was revealed that the town’s new GP provider may withdraw from their contract after 18 months.

At a meeting of the community council (MDCC) on Tuesday, it emerged that Lochmaben Medical Group have demanded alternative premises for the practice.

And they want that to happen within 18 months of their takeover, which was last November.

The revelation came out during a discussion on the upcoming consultation about the future of Moffat Hospital, which residents have repeatedly indicated that they would like to see used as the town’s medical hub.

Members heard that one of the stipulations of the Lochmaben group taking over Moffat was that alternative premises for the practice be found within 18 months of their takeover, otherwise they would withdraw from the GP contract.

Elaborating on the situation, MDCC chair Liam O’Neill said: “I have asked the health board to look at Moffat with special consideration, due to the situation we have with our surgery – it’s not fit for purpose.

“The Lochmaben practice has said they want alternative provision for a surgery and my understanding is that they said they’d wait up to 18 months for it or they would withdraw from the contract.

“Now we don’t want that to happen because the practice has been run very well since they took over.”

He explained that Moffat has been “thrown in” with the region-wide consultation about cottage hospitals, adding: “The first consultation was completed in September and a report was put up to the integrated joint board, and the board came back and said ‘we want further consultation’, so we are back out to consultation

and I’m now told there will be another report published in September.

“And hopefully when this report comes out in September we can kick things into action very quickly.”

But the revelation was met with concern and calls for community action from members of the public present.

Speaking out, Linnhe Cringean said: “Now the cat’s out of the bag, is there anything that we (Moffat) can do to put pressure on the NHS to say ‘do not put us in this position’ of losing yet another provider for the Moffat practice.

“That is information that should be made public, that is information that shouldn’t be kept quiet, that shouldn’t be something that only the NHS and the Lochmaben practice know about, that is information that we – as users of the Moffat practice should know about.

“We should know if things don’t get moving we are at risk of losing another practice.”

In response, a spokesperson for NHS Dumfries and Galloway yesterday said: “We have been part of discussions over the past several years around the best location from which to deliver GP services for Moffat and the surrounding area.

“Our own recent community engagement across Time to Talk and Right Care, Right Place has highlighted this as a consideration, with people having noted some current challenges and potential opportunities.

“We will be looking to explore these opportunities – continuing to work with local people and the independent contractors who hold the contract to provide GP services out of Moffat, collaborating with them in support of their work.”

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