Call for more patient power in Lanark

Lanark Doctors Woodstock Health Centr
Lanark Doctors Woodstock Health Centr

AFTER only a few weeks in operation, the new system of making appointments to see a doctor in Lanark has already been slammed as a failure.

The attack comes from one of the town’s South Lanarkshire councillors in the wake of last week’s Lanark Gazette front page story telling of confusion amongst patients of the Lanark Doctors after a new appointments system was introduced.

I would like to see some kind of Patients Forum set up for Lanark

It was brought in as an interim measure to address the growing waiting times for patients to see a doctor for non-urgent matters at the surgery off Woodstock Road.

The Gazette heard of patients having to wait for up to a month just to see a GP.

The new system of GP’s having two week advance `blocks’ of appointments has been slated by Councillor Ed Archer who says he has already received complaints about it from constituents.

He told the Gazette: “It seems that, instead of improving matters, the new system is even worse than the old one. I’ve had constituents still unclear on how they see a doctor and asking if they don’t get an appointment in one fortnight’s `block’, does that mean they have to wait another two weeks to try again, just to get onto the waiting list?”

He said he fully realised Lanark was suffering from the same basic lack of GP’s as many other parts of the country where the local Health Board has had to step in to take over the running of practices.

That has not been necessary at Lanark but Councillor Archer says that something radical will have to happen while attempts go on to recruit enough new doctors to come to Lanark.

“In the meantime, it is essential that they come up with a better plan to use what resources they have. The Carluke GP practice seems to be doing better, having a `Golden Hour’ each morning where patients can come in and see a doctor without a prior appointment. That seems to keep their waiting lists down.

“Also, I would like to see some kind of Patients Forum set up for Lanark; this is in operation at the Biggar practice and it seems to help their GP’s plan ahead better.”

He went on: “I don’t want anyone to think that I am criticising the skill or competence of medical or clerical staff at Lanark Doctors; when you get an appiointment, you get the very best of service and treatment. It’s GETTING that appointment that’s the big problem.”