In the third community update about Brechin Health Centre services, it has been revealed that GP staffing levels at the practice is improving.
NHS Tayside had to change the appointment system at the centre due to a shortage of GPs, with calls to the centre now being triaged- meaning each call will be assessed, allowing practice staff to manage demand and means more issues can be dealt with on a patient’s first phone call. A receptionist will gather basic information to ensure the most appropriate clinical member of staff handles the request or will address any non-clinical requirements e.g. booking nurse appointments.
Since the change, the health board has been issuing regular updates to keep the local community informed, and in the latest one Professor Andrew Russell, NHS Tayside Medical Director, has said the staffing levels are improving.
He said: “It has now been over two weeks since a new way of accessing GP service was introduced at the practice to help the health centre deal with staffing challenges over the summer and ensure that all patients can access the healthcare they require.
“I know that the team at the health centre has been working tirelessly to ensure everyone has timely access to quality and safe healthcare services and I would like to thank them for their dedication, teamwork and support.
“I would also like to thank the patients in Brechin, many of whom have given us positive feedback about the changes we have made.
“Along with other senior members of the NHS Tayside team, I attended the Brechin Health Centre Patient Participation Group meeting last week. It was a very productive and positive meeting and I would like to extend my thanks to the PPG members for inviting us and for their valuable insight and input.
“I am pleased to say that GP staffing levels at the practice are improving as we move into August. However, we know we are dealing with a changeable position and we will continue to support the practice in providing GP cover and wider access to healthcare.
“Brechin Health Centre remains a very important healthcare facility in Angus and I would like to again reassure the Brechin community that NHS Tayside, Angus Health & Social Care Partnership and the staff at Brechin Health Centre are committed to continuing to deliver and develop services in the town. We are going to be investing in the health centre and next week we will bring you an update on what will be happening.
“The redesign of primary care services is a big priority for us and we know we need the local community to help us design services to meet the needs of the local population. We are looking forward to working with the local community to be at the forefront of these new models of care.”
The Patient participation group met on Tuesday, July 26. The meeting was attended by Lesley McLay, NHS Tayside Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Russell, NHS Tayside Medical Director, Frances Rooney, NHS Tayside Director of Pharmacy, Dr Michelle Watts, NHS Tayside Associate Medical Director, Gail Smith, Head of Community Health & Care Services (North Angus), Angus Health & Social Care Partnership, Rhona Guild, Primary Care Manager, Angus Health & Social Care Partnership and Glennis Middleton, Chair of the Angus Integrated Joint Board for the Angus Health & Social Care Partnership.
The meeting discussed issues such as services at the health centre, including GP recruitment and retention, the reasons for recent changes to the appointment system and the developing multidisciplinary team within the practice. There was a willingness from everyone attending to work together to develop and deliver a long-term vision for Brechin Health Centre.
Members also heard that there was a strong commitment from both NHS Tayside and Angus Health & Social Care Partnership to deliver and develop services at Brechin Health Centre into the future.
There was much discussion about how best to keep patients and the public informed about what was happening with health services in Brechin in the rapidly-changing environment and it was agreed to involve PPG members more in the development and sharing of information.
PPG representatives also expressed a willingness to attend any local groups to discuss practice services and developments. If you would like to become involved in the PPG please contact Rhona by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01307 474889.