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Doctors Urged To Make Their Views Known On The Out-Of-Hours Service
Doctors were urged to make their views known on controversial plans to axe the out-of-hours GP service based in the accident and emergency department at Wishaw General Hospital.
Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland will write again to the area’s GPs seeking their views on the issue.
NHS bosses want to move the service to either Hamilton or Airdrie.
Mr Pentland hit out after NHS Lanarkshire refused to put on hold GP out-of-hours changes despite a national review being launched.
He said: “The board has written back to me to say while they will take the national review into account, they will still press on with their current plans. That doesn’t make sense. What if the national review recommends something completely at odds with what they are doing – such as co-locating GP out-of-hours services with A&E departments?
“Pressing ahead with local plans will pre-empt the national review, but the outcome of the national review could mean Lanarkshire NHS having to make a u-turn and backtrack amid further controversy. That would entail wasted time and effort, and cause unnecessary disruption to the service.”
And Mr Pentland said few doctors had applied to his initial letter about the centralising of the out-of-hours GP service.
He added: “I am also very disappointed by the response to my letter to local GPs – or rather the lack of it, since very few replied. Now that there is a national review as well, I am writing to them again, asking for their views on that in addition to my previous questions about the local situation.
“The public have a right to know why the service is being cut. They will want to know whether GPs are sticking up for them and speaking out about the impact of the cuts on their patients – patients who will be forced travel out of the area to get GP treatment at night, on a trip that could involve taxis or lengthy journeys via several buses.
“I want to know where GPs stand on this issue. Do they think there is more that the NHS could do to encourage their participation – or do they support the withdrawal of the out-of-hours service from Motherwell and Wishaw?”
Craig Cunningham, of NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We welcome the national review and will take any emerging proposals from it into account as part of our local review.
“It is important we continue with public consultation process to ensure we are in a position to address pressures we are facing right now with the availability of GPs to provide the people of Lanarkshire with a consistently safe and effective service.”
Dr Andrew Manchip, clinical director of the NHS Lanarkshire out-of-hours service, added: “We cannot continue indefinitely with the level of disruption the service is currently experiencing if we are to provide patients with a person-centred, predictable and highly-effective service. Continuing our review process is crucial so we can deliver the safest care possible.”