RELIEF has been expressed in Moffat at the news that a provider has been found to run GP services in the town.
Lochmaben Surgery will be taking over responsibility for care in Moffat later this year.
The GP practice is temporarily under the auspices of NHS Dumfries and Galloway since Alba Medical Group ended their contract for both Moffat and Lockerbie in May following a series of issues and patient complaints.
But this week, Moffat community councillors welcomed the news of a more permanent solution.
Member Leys Geddes said: “We as a community council are glad about the appointment of the Lochmaben Medical Group to run the surgery.
“They have a lot of empathy and understanding about how to run a practice in a small town. Representatives from the group have already been in touch to arrange a meeting with the community council and we look forward to creating a good relationship with them.”
The Lochmaben Medical Group will take over provision of general medical services to the Moffat patients from November – and services will continue to be delivered from the practice’s current sites in both Moffat and Leadhills.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace said: “I am delighted to be able to announce that Lochmaben Medical Group will be the providers of GP services for the patients of Moffat and surrounding communities.”
Lochmaben Medical Group’s partners added: “We are very excited to extend the service we provide to the residents of Lochmaben into the Moffat community.
“Our aim is to develop Moffat Surgery into a sustainable practice, supported by a commitment from the Health Board to explore more suitable premises in the future.
“We recognise that recruiting and maintaining a regular clinical workforce at Moffat has been a major challenge in recent years. We are a well-established local GP surgery that is passionate about being a training practice, which means that we train the next generation of doctors and medical students. This has been vital in our recruitment of clinical staff at Lochmaben over the years, and is a model we look to replicate in Moffat.
“We ask for patience and understanding as we endeavour to stabilise services at Moffat in the increasingly challenging world of primary care.”
The announcement of a new provider has been welcomed by the area’s politicians and Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell, constituency MSP Oliver Mundell and Moffat-based councillor Lynne Davis released a joint statement, saying: “This news will bring some certainty to patients in Moffat and the wide rural areas covered by the practice who have been deeply concerned about the future availability of community healthcare.
“The new contractors, Lochmaben Medical Group, have a good track record of operating in Dumfriesshire and are acutely aware of local needs and concerns.
“We are pleased NHS Dumfries and Galloway are to assist the practice become fully established including helping identify more appropriate surgery premises, if required.
“Equally important is the new operator’s commitment to keep surgery premises in Moffat and the Lowther Hills area once they take over in November.”
Further information will be provided as NHS Dumfries and Galloway works with Lochmaben Medical Group over the transitional period to November.