Following NHS Tayside’s announcement that open access clinics were to be withdrawn, a further services update has been issued.
In the statement, the health board said the decision was made as there were “simply not enough GPs over the summer period to deliver a safe service using this model of seeing and treating patients”.
The new arrangement will now mean that patients who need an appointment or require to be seen telephone the practice on 01356 624411 and are assessed then directed to the most appropriate healthcare professional or service for their needs.
Should any patient need to be seen, the clinician will advise on next steps, which may include attendance at the surgery to be seen by a GP, or being redirected to the Minor Injury and Illness Unit or the local community pharmacist.
Recruitment of more GPs for the practice has been ongoing since NHS Tayside took it over in October 2015, but the update said there had been “minimal success” in recruitment.
The update contineud: “The issues facing the Brechin practice reflect the GP recruitment difficulties being experienced across the country. There are several GP vacancies across Tayside – in Dundee, Perth & Kinross and in Angus. This is not solely a Brechin issue and it means we have to find new ways of delivering care in all of our communities across Tayside, be that in a city, in smaller towns or in our more rural areas. These staffing shortage problems are even worse over the summer months and holiday period as it is more difficult to secure locum doctors due to the increased demands for them across the country.
“However, we must make it clear that there are absolutely no plans to close Brechin Health Centre. It is an extremely important healthcare facility in Angus and NHS Tayside and Angus Health and Social Care Partnership are committed to providing a long-term future for health services in Brechin and at Brechin Health Centre.”
To provide support to the health centre, NHS Tayside has confirmed that as of Tuesday, July 19, the Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU) will move from Brechin Infirmary next door to Brechin Health Centre.
It is anticipated that the MIIU will operate from Brechin Health Centre until the end of August.
Access to the MIIU will be through a separate entrance in the grounds of Brechin Infirmary to the upper level of the health centre. It can also be accessed through the main entrance to the health centre when the centre is open.
There are benefits in co-locating MIIU services and staff within the health centre and it means there will be a strengthened healthcare team over this challenging period.
The service is able to treat a wide range of minor injuries and arrange x-rays for suspected broken bones. The operating hours will remain the same when the MIIU moves to the health centre with the service open daily from 9.00am - 4.30pm.
To contact the MIIU, please call 01356 666076.
Other clinics and services operating from Brechin Infirmary are unaffected by this move and will continue as usual.