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Fears for patients as Strichen GP surgery to reduce hours to one day a week

By Kyle Ritchie

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Concerns have been raised after the GP surgery in Strichen will have its opening hours reduced to Thursdays only with effect from April 1.

The changes are understood to have been instructed by Ayrshire Medical Group who operate the Central Buchan Practice as a contractor to NHS Grampian.

Central Buchan councillor Geoff Crowson said: “It’s bad enough to find out about such a major change within the community by social media but I feel very sorry for the loyal and hardworking staff at Strichen who have been left to break this news to their patients.

Concerns have been raised that the GP surgery in Strichen is to have its opening hours reduced to Thursdays only.
Concerns have been raised that the GP surgery in Strichen is to have its opening hours reduced to Thursdays only.

“There has been no consultation on these radical changes nor any explanation of why the assurances previously given to patients in Strichen have now been broken.

“I am seeking answers from Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership as to what discussions were had and what support was offered in an effort to keep the service at Strichen operating on the current basis.”

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said: “I’m appalled at the decision to close Strichen surgery for six days a week in the same week it was decided to shut nearby MIUs overnight while ARI’s emergency department are asking people to only turn up if their condition is life-threatening.

“The reduction in opening hours in Strichen will have a serious impact on the wellbeing of hundreds of patients, especially the most vulnerable who regularly need access to a doctor or nurse but don’t have transport.

“People expect to be able to have an appropriate level of healthcare locally and in rural areas like Strichen, medical practices form the heart of the community.

“This announcement is extremely worrying for my constituents and could deter people looking to move to the area – including doctors, nurses and teachers among other vacancies.

“I have now written to the management of the surgery, Ayrshire Medical Group, and will raise concerns in my upcoming meeting with Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership.”

Scottish Conservative deputy health spokesperson and North East MSP Tess White said: “The most common way that people interact with our health service is through GP appointments and this detrimental reduction in opening hours is a huge blow to the Strichen community.

“Residents want to be treated as close to home as possible and this decision will do little to provide comfort to patients who want to know that they can still be seen quickly and locally.

“This is a depressing indication of just how serious the crisis has become in rural healthcare under the Scottish Government.

“I plan to raise the concerns of the community at the Scottish Parliament and will push for a fresh plan which includes new pathways to primary care and an increase in the portion of funding given to GP services like these.”

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