MOFFAT residents were asked to help a South Lanarkshire group who are “at the end of their tether” with the town’s former GP provider Alba Medical Group (Alba).
A concerned patient from Lanark’s Woodstock Medical Centre reached out via social media asking about the circumstances that lead to Alba’s resignation from their contract at the town’s GP surgery last year.
The Lanark Patients Action Group was initially set up in April this year, and since then over 300 group members have recorded similar issues with their practice, also run by the Alba Medical Group including lengthy waits for prescriptions, patients struggling to get appointments and staff shortages.
The call for advice was quickly answered by Moffat and District Community Council chairman Liam O’Neill.
He said: “The whole process of appointing Alba in the first instance was a debacle, with the community council not being involved and the NHS acting without the best interests of the community forming any part of the outcome.
“When Alba intimated it was terminating the contract, following widespread dissatisfaction with the service which did not match up to that promised by Alba at a public meeting prior to taking over the practice, the community council took a robust involvement in the next stage.
“Several meetings were held with NHS officials, with promises of full involvement in the selection of the successors.
“Unfortunately the promises proved to be shallow, and the community council found out on Facebook that a local practice will provide the service from November.
“The local practice has been more proactive, and has held a meeting with community council representatives, which promises to be a welcome solution to the debacle I referred to earlier.”
Moffat resident Beryl Castle added: “Fortunately our MSP Oliver Mundell took our complaints seriously. He raised the issue of Alba’s serious underperformance in the Scottish Parliament.
“Alba realised it was going to cost considerable effort and money to rectify problems and decided to hand the contract back to the Health Board at the end of the first year.”