Fight for out-of-hours GPs continues

Scotland’s Health Minister and NHS Borders have been contacted by Berwickshire MSP John Lamont about the withdrawal of Duns based out-of-hours GP services.

A number of concerned residents contacted Mr Lamont when they found out about the plans to base all out-of-hours GP services at Borders General Hospital’s accident and emergency department, and he was also asked by Cranshaws, Ellemford & Longformacus Community Council to raise the matter with NHS Borders. Mr Lamont confirmed that he has written to both NHS Borders and Health Minister Alex Neil and is awaiting a response.

A freedom of information request by the community council to NHS Borders asked for “all information held relating to the decision to end out-of-hours doctor visits from Duns and how that decision was reached”.

It produced the response: “NHS Borders has made no decision to end out-of-hours visits in Duns and as such, under Section 17 (1) (b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, there is no information held.”

Writing to the chairman and chief executive of NHS Borders, community council chairman Mark Rowley disputes their view that the service has just been reconfigured. He said: “The withdrawal of the service has caused significant anxiety to many residents. There was no warning that the service was at risk, no advance notice, no community consultation and little has been done to make patients aware of these changes.

“This is not a marginal service for this community. Your action has removed the closest professional medical service to our community for 122 hours each week.

“This community council has never had such a swift call to action from so many concerned residents.”