Lockerbie and Moffat patients to be given chance to virtually meet new doctors



Around 9,800 patients are being given the chance to have a joint virtual meeting with their new doctors next week.

An invitation letter from Linda Binney, head of NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Primary Care Services, landed on the doormats of all those registered at both Lockerbie Medical Practice and Moffat Surgery, at the weekend.

Dr Azhar Ali, Dr Usman Rehman and Dr Rameshwer Lal of The Lanarkshire Medical Group – who already provide services in a number of board areas – are to take over the provision of services for both GP surgeries from April 1.

Responsibility for the day-to-day running of the two medical centers has been with the health board since 2018 and not, as is the normal model, with the practices themselves.

Now, for the first time in years, patients will have full-time permanent GPs following a major recruitment drive by NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

Ahead of the transfer and next week’s virtual session, doctors Ali, Lal and Rehman said: “We have extensive experience in running multiple practices and we will utilize our prior experience and learning for the benefit of the Lockerbie and Moffat practices.

“We are excepted to be taking them over and working closely with the respective communities. Our aim is to improve the patient journey experience and we plan to have our patients seen by the right person, first time.”

They also said: “As we are aware, there is a national shortage of GPs and, therefore, we have developed a multi-disciplinary team-based approach to provide our primary care service in line with the direction of travel in the new GP contract. .

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“This allows better access for patients and will also allow them to receive the help and advice they need in a timely fashion.”

The letter invites patients to register, by email in advance at [email protected], for online attendance at the virtual information session on, February 10, at 7pm. She said that ideally they would have liked to hold open public meetings to introduce the doctors but have to go online because of the pandemic.

The letter encourages patients to submit, in advance, any questions they may have regarding the future provision of services. She said: “As we near the handover date further sessions will be held in mid March to provide opportunity for more detailed discussion. Hopefully it will be possible to hold these in person.

“Please be reassured that you do not need to do anything at this time, patients will remain registered with their practice and will continue to speak to, and be seen, in the practices by the current practice staff as they transfer to the new provider on Apr1 1.”

Lockerbie has been run by Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership since the death of Dr George Porteous in October, 2018. It had to reduce its list of 5,500 patients by moving around 700 to neighboring Lochmaben Medical Group.

The partnership also had to take on the responsibility for the patients at Moffat’s Church Place Surgery in March, 2018, after its doctors retired.

It led to the decision to merge the practice with the High Street Surgery to create The Moffat Surgery. It means they have had to “rely heavily” on the availability of temporary locum doctors rather than permanent GPs, although measures to help included an increase the number of advanced nurse practitioners.

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www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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