Patients trying to make GP appointments in small branch practices have become increasingly frustated at not being able to do so.
A number of people contacted South Scotland Conservative MSP Brian Whittle about the issue and he has contacted health board chiefs in an effort to resolve the situation.
The three branch practices where patients have struggled to make appointments are Dalrymple (a branch of the Riverside Medical Practice in Patna),
Ochiltree Surgery (a branch of Auchinleck Surgery) and Mauchline’s GP Surgery (a branch of the Ballochmyle Medical Group, based in Catrine).
NHS Ayrshire and Arran has replied to Mr Whittle and provided the opening hours for the three practices: Dalrymple opening hours Monday 9am–10.30am; Thursday 10am–12.30pm and Friday 9am–10.30am. All these appointments are reserved for Dalrymple residents, but the practice accepts that recent staff illnesses have meant fewer appointments were available than normal.
At Ochiltree Surgery appointments are available on a Tuesday and a Friday but a GP will only be present if appointments have been made. And at Mauchline’s GP Surgery there’s currently a three week wait for routine GP appointments because of demand. Clinicians can give phone advice for urgent appointments on the day and appointments can be made with the advanced nurse practitioner who is qualified to deal with a range of medical issues.
Brian Whittle MSP said: “I’m grateful to everyone who got in touch to raise concerns about getting a GP appointment in their community. With a lack of GPs in the health service putting pressure on remaining surgeries, more small practices are having to merge with neighbours.”
“GPs are the first point of contact for many people with the health service and it’s vital the public can get an appointment in a reasonable amount of time.
“I hope the information I’ve obtained from NHS Ayrshire & Arran about GP services in Dalrymple, Ochiltree and Mauchline is useful to those communities. “If anyone else has problems getting an appointment with their GP or another issue they’d like to raise, I’ll do my best to help. You can contact me at Brian.Whittle.MSP@parliament.scot or by phone on 01563 544 399.”