Newtongrange surgery will ease local pressure

Newtongrange Community Council chairman Jason Ferry outside Newtongrange Clinic, which will next summer become a fully fledged surgery in the village, catering for 3-4,000 patients
Newtongrange Community Council chairman Jason Ferry outside Newtongrange Clinic, which will next summer become a fully fledged surgery in the village, catering for 3-4,000 patients

Two GPs will open a new medical practice in Newtongrange, easing the pressure on local surgeries and delighting locals who had fought for it.

The Newtongrange Clinic building off Sixth Street, known as ‘St David’s Clinic’ in the village, will be transformed into a medical practice, set to open next summer.

Newtongrange Community Council chairman Jason Ferry is delighted with the news that two GPs and associated workforce will serve 3-4,000 people.

He said: “Obviously this will increase GP provision within the area.

“I think this is good news. Because, as has been well highlighted, with the increased numbers of houses in the area and local surgeries not taking on any new patients, this gives the opportunity for additional people to be registered.

“So I can only see it as a positive thing for local people.”

Mr Ferry revealed that local people had called for the village to have its own surgery four years ago.

He said: “In the neighbourhood plan for Newtongrange in 2012 one of the things highlighted was the need for more local health provision.

“One of our members Peter Quinn contacted Newbattle Medical Practice about the possibility of setting up a satellite surgery in Newtongrange. But it was a no go at that time.

“So this news ties in with that from the neighbourhood plan. Which is great.

“It should obviously be supported. I look forward to hearing the full proposals.

“The only drawback I thought I could see was that there is no parking spaces there. However it would be local people accessing it, which will reduce car traffic. As they will be able to walk there instead of taking the car to say Newbattle in Mayfield or Newbyres in Gorebridge.

“It used to be a health visitors base. They used to have it for the post-natal staff. I don’t know what it is used for at the moment though.”

Midlothian Council leader Councillor Catherine Johnstone revealed the news at last week’s Gorebridge Community Council meeting.

She said: “I have been working with the joint health board to get a new practice up and running. I don’t know when it will be opening. It’s still early stages.

“The catchment areas have still to be identified.

“But obviously this is great news for the area.”

Fellow Midlothian South representative, Councillor Bryan Pottinger (Labour) is also delighted that Newtongrange will soon have its own surgery. He said: “The surgery is something we have campaigned for, for a long, long time. When the two GPs came and said they wanted to come to Midlothian and open their own practice it was obviously great news.

“It will hopefully take pressure off Newbattle and Newbyres. There has always been a need for a surgery in Newtongrange, instead of travelling to Mayfield or Gorebridge.”

Robert Hogg is chairman of Mayfield and Easthouses Community Council. His group’s boundaries include Newbattle Medical Practice, which is one of five local surgeries to have closed its list to new patients in the past year. Mr Hogg welcomed the news that Newtongrange is to get its own surgery.

He said: “Those two GPs opening a surgery there could lead to four or five.

“So that should ease the pressure on nearby surgeries including Newbattle. Anything like this has got to be welcomed. It’s good news.”

Eibhlin McHugh, Director of Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “NHS Lothian and the Midlothian Integration Joint Board are working together to improve access to general practice in Midlothian.

“We will open a new practice in Newtongrange in Summer 2017 in an existing building that will be refurbished.

“This is a great development for Midlothian and we are confident it will improve access for patients living in and near to Newtongrange.

“We took this decision because there are GP practices close to Newtongrange which currently have restrictions on their lists because of a rising demand on practices from an ageing population, as well as from people moving into new houses in the area.”