Coldingham suregery's temporary home

AS Eyemouth Medical Practice prepares for extensive renovations to its surgery in Coldingham, plans have been submitted for a temporary building to ensure existing services aren't disrupted.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th June 2010, 4:52 pm

Practice Manager Gitte Blackley said the contract for the building work, funded by the Health Board, is currently out to tender and the proposed renovations will include a new waiting room and a second consulting room.

She said she hoped the work would start either next month or August at the latest and be completed by the winter.

To ensure that patients don't suffer any loss of service in the intervening period, Bain and Swan architects have made an application to Scottish Borders Council's planning department on behalf of the Practice, for the erection of a temporary surgery, which if approved will be housed in a car park adjacent to the surgery.

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And Gitte said that if permission is granted for the kabin and the surgery moves there, there should be no disruption to services currently offered.

She continued: "We will still have a surgery and dispensary at the temporary building and we are hopeful that there will be no disruptions for patients.

"Things could be affected on the odd day when we transfer into the kabin but apart from that we don't envisage any problems and we're confident we can maintain the level of the service we give at the moment.

"We've been assured that the temporary consulting room will be the same size as the one in the surgery and there shouldn't be anything we can't do.

"The outreach service to Cockburnspath will also continue to run as normal."

Coldingham Surgery was in 'The Berwickshire News' last month after it was revealed that an application had been received by NHS Borders Pharamacy Practices Committee from Rochdale-based Unicare for a community pharmacy in the village.

The outcome of this application is yet to be decided by members but if it is approved it will mean that the GPs at Coldingham Surgery will no longer be able to dispense medicine to patients and will have to reduce their hours.

Gitte said she had been blown away by the opposition from residents who are adamant that they want things to remain as they are.

She added: "We have had huge support from all of our patients who are all incredibly happy with the level of service they currently receive."

Last week week local MP Michael Moore met with the chief executive of NHS Borders, Calum Campbell, and urged him to protect existing local pharmacy arrangements.

Along with his colleague Jim Hume MSP, Mr Moore asked the Chief Executive to look very hard at proposals to introduce new community pharmacies to ensure that all the very serious local concerns are taken into account.

Mr Moore commented: "I share the many concerns expressed by local communities about how the introduction of new pharmacy services could undermine existing vital services.

"Given the potential consequences for some of our remote communities, such as Newcastleton and Coldingham, I stressed the level of concern to NHS Borders and have urged them to protect the existing arrangements.

"The Chief Executive listened carefully to the points raised by Jim Hume and me and I hope the communities' concerns will be listened to."

John Lamont MSP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, has written to NHS Borders in support of the Coldingham GPs and has outlined his concerns over proposals to open a new pharmacy in the village.

Commenting on the situation, he said: "Having attended the local public meeting to discuss this issue, I am fully aware of the strength of local feeling in the community, where residents are very concerned about the consequences of this new pharmacy plan.

"The services provided by the GP practice depends on the dispensing income they receive and any move to reduce that would hit local health services.

"I have been contacted by many members of the local community and it is clear that they believe the current provision of pharmacy services to be perfectly adequate."