Crisis-hit Falkirk practice back in hands of GP

Westburn Medical Practice in Falkirk will be run by a GP again from next month
Westburn Medical Practice in Falkirk will be run by a GP again from next month

A GP is taking over the 
running of one health centre - but patients from another crisis-hit practice are being dealt with through NHS 24.

NHS Forth Valley has secured a doctor for Westburn Medical Practice, based in Falkirk Community Hospital, after it was forced to take it over in March following an exodus of GPs with no replacements.

The same happened at Grangemouth’s Kersiebank Medical Practice which had to reduce its catchment area and patients were turned away without treatment. Similar problems were experienced in Bannockburn and Drymen in the health board’s area.

NHS Forth Valley put a number of locum and salaried GPs in place to ensure the practices remained open and provided local services while advertising vacancies for GPs to run the practices again.

Progress is being made and from August 3, Dr Derek Dundas will take over at Westburn, which provides services for around 4300 people in Falkirk. He has previously worked with some of the local patients as a locum.

Tracey Gillies, NHS Forth Valley medical director, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to hand the management of this practice back to GPs as this will provide long-term sustainability as well as providing opportunities to develop and expand the range of services provided locally.”

To meet demand for GPs, Kersiebank has both locum and salaried doctors and the NHS says staffing arrangements are “working well”.

A spokeswoman said: “In order to maintain access to local medical services we have put in place a range of additional services and support.

“This includes nursing, pharmacist, physiotherapy and mental health services and helps free up GP capacity, ensuring that patients who need to see a doctor can get an appointment as soon as possible.”

NHS Forth Valley said feedback from patients about the pilot project where Kersiebank passes some of its routine and non-urgent appointments to NHS 24 has been “very positive”.

The spokeswoman added: “This includes general enquiries regarding medication and prescriptions, requests for fit notes and advice on managing common conditions such as hay fever and colds.

“Initial feedback from the pilot, which has been running over the past six weeks, is very positive and we will continue to monitor this project as well as looking at other ways of improving access and enhancing the range of services and support available.”