Council attacked for failing to deal with health ‘crisis’

Newbyres Medical Centre, 15 Hunterfield Road, Gorebridge.

Newbyres Medical Centre, 15 Hunterfield Road, Gorebridge.

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Labour councillor Jim Muirhead has attacked the council for “doing nothing” to stop the local health“crisis” his party predicted, as Gorebridge became the latest town to have its surgery close its list to new patients.

While discussing the budget settlement from the Scottish Government regarding the provision of primary care, at last week’s full council meeting, he said: “Have you ever tried to get a doctors’s appointment recently?

“Every medical practice in the east of Midlothian has got a restricted list. That’s an appalling situation.

“And I would remind you that we attempted to make constructive suggestions as to how we could help to avoid that back in May 2015. But we were voted down by the administration.

“And I think one of the councillors said that to call it a crisis was an exaggeration in the extreme.

“Well it’s clearly a crisis and we knew it was coming. And this administration has done nothing about it.”

Responding, SNP councillor Lisa Beattie said: “I have been successful in getting appointments to see general practitioners locally and I am someone who lives in the east of the county.”

She added that most of the practices providing primary care throughout Scotland are still run on a private practice basis, and therefore decide what is best for them and can not be influenced by the local authority.

She also said that “perhaps an independent Scotland will encourage” young doctors trained here to stay in this country and work in local surgeries.

Cllr Beattie added: “We are training doctors, we are just not seeing them coming into the general practice field in the numbers we would wish to.

“Which is why this situation exists throughout Scotland, not as severely I’m pleased to say as it is for our cousins south of the border.”