Just ten weeks to cure GP practice

Waiting times for patients  to see a GP are at an all-time high and  more and more pressure is being placed  on A&E
Waiting times for patients to see a GP are at an all-time high and more and more pressure is being placed on A&E

The race is on to find a new practice to take over Lanark’s long-troubled Woodstock Medical Centre.

NHS Lanarkshire faces an April 6 deadline of finding a new set of doctors to serve the practice’s 13,000 patients,the date the current GPs walk away, having given up their Lanark contract with the health service.

In a bid to rebuild public confidence in the local GP service, the NHS is using ‘patient power’ when selecting their replacements.

At a recent meeting in Lanark attended by 250 Woodstock patients, NHS Lanarkshire called for volunteers to serve on their selection panel to choose a the new Woodstock practice.

No less than 60 patients stepped forward to offer their help and four have been “randomly” selected by the health authority.

They have not been named by NHS Lanarkshire which is also refusing to agree to calls for it to take over the running of the Lanark practice full time. It has committed to keeping the Woodstock Centre open if it doesn’t find a new practice by the April 6 deadline but this would be a temporary measure.

It is also not putting a figure on what it intends to spend ‘sorting’ Lanark’s GP services after years of complaints from patients, especially about successive appointment systems.

Labour regional MSP Claudia Beamish said: “Patient involvement in awarding the GP contract will help ensure the services proposed are right for the community. I’d like to thank those who have volunteered for giving their time to this important task.”

The national shortage of GP’s has contributed to record numbers of patients attending Wishaw General Hospital A&E department.