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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Sort it out, say patients

PATIENTS in Moffat and Lockerbie have reacted angrily to news that it will take six months to sort out issues at both GP surgeries.

In a meeting last week, Alba Medical Group told councillors that IT problems are causing the various problems at both locations.

But patients are demanding quicker improvements.

Kate Smith, Moffat, said: “I’m scared and think it’s an accident waiting to happen if it hasn’t already – what are we supposed to do? Where do you turn to? It’s a sorry state of affairs when you can’t even see a doctor.”

John Sharpe, Lockerbie, said: “IT issues, what an excuse. A&E and out of hours are overwhelmed by this practice as they are not willing to help patients.

“The premises they have there should be open seven days a week to help out and get back up to speed and ease the burden on the hospital.”

Linda McGlynn described it as ‘PR nonsense’, adding: “They need to be held accountable for the job they have taken on. Sounds like the biggest excuse in the world, IT issues. Come on, spend some money and get it fixed.”

Responding to their comments, Alba Medical Group yesterday issued a statement: “The current situation being experienced across the country by general practice is that they are facing unprecedented demand as a result of the pandemic, with most practices not having enough appointments to meet this demand. We offer a range of appointments, enabling a mixture of options to assist patients, on the basis of what is most appropriate and helpful including video and telephone consultations. Patients are being seen on a face to face basis when it is clinically appropriate to do so. There is, however, always a duty doctor available every day and where a patient is calling with something that is deemed a clinical priority, they are able to access a clinician on the day.

“There are national GP recruitment challenges. Lockerbie practice has not only stabilised their GP position but extended the number of GPs working in the practice with further recruitment being undertaken. There is also now an extended wider multi-disciplinary team (MDT) which improves access and provides additional appointment availability. The MDT includes advanced nurse practitioners, advanced skills paramedics, mental health nurses, pharmacotherapy team and MSK practitioners. This will help to ensure patients see the most appropriate professional within the practice and allows the GPs to focus on those who most urgently require their care.

“With regards to the ongoing IT merger, the timescale for this sits outwith the control of the Group. The Board has acknowledged this as a priority and are working with the relevant stakeholders to confirm a timeline for this work to be undertaken.”

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