Just one doctor to 3,500 patients

Woodstock Medical Centre, Lanark
Woodstock Medical Centre, Lanark

After years of complaints about delays in obtaining GP appointments and prescriptions at Lanark’s Woodstock Medical Centre, Lanarkshire Health Board has come to the troubled practice’s rescue.

Senior NHS officials came to a special meeting of the Royal Burgh’s Community Council on Monday night to outline both the problems at the practice, formerly known as The Lanark Doctors, and some of the solutions they propose.

Craig Cunningham, head of health at South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, told community council members that the practice that once had ten GP partners now had only four part-time doctors working there.

This means there is now only one doctor per 3,500 patients on Woodstock’s list.

Effectively, the Lanark area’s 14,000 patients only had a four-day-a-week GP service.

Mr Cunningham admitted: “It is fair to say that we struggled to provide the service we want.”

He added that recruitment was underway with a salaried doctor and a locum who could become full time at the practice coming on strength.

However, he stated that it was the worsening prescription situation at the Woodstock practice that had been a crucial factor in the health board stepping in.

He said that the NHS standard waiting time for a prescription was 48 hours; Lanark patients were waiting 15 days for their medication.

He told the meeting: “As a health board, we couldn’t accept that level of service.”

Mr Cunningham said that NHS pharmacists had been parachuted into the practice “to blitz the backlog of prescriptions”.

He added that the NHS would be working with the practice “on a daily basis” for the next few months.