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Consultation on Proposed Closure of Blair Atholl Branch Surgery is Now Underway

person sitting while using laptop computer and green stethoscope near

A consultation on the proposed closure of the Blair Atholl Branch Surgery is underway with all registered patients inviting them to give their feedback on the proposal as part of a consultation which closes on Wednesday 7th of September.

The surgery closed in March 2020 temporarily due to the pandemic with the Atholl Medical Centre proposing its closure at the end of last year, with all services moving to Pitlochry. The concerns from the Atholl Medical centre come from the ongoing recruitment issues for GPs across the country and the suitability of the building.

In the letter the Partners of the Atholl Medical Centre say: “Atholl Medical Centre has been actively trying to recruit replacement GPs since November 2017 and unfortunately we are unable to secure regular locum GPs to fill the vacant posts in the short-term.

“As a practice, we have done everything we can to attract new doctors and to mitigate the GP shortage, however we now need to take action to manage the situation to ensure we can provide the best service for patients and reduce any potential risks to patients and staff.”

The Partners go on to outline their concerns regarding the building which has “one consulting room” and “limited space” meaning “there is no room for support staff to attend with the GP.”

They further add that home visits in Blair Atholl have been continuing while the branch surgery has been closed and all services have been provided from Pitlochry. The letter closes with the Partners saying: “Please be assured that our staff and doctors are working extremely hard to continue to provide a good service for all patients and we welcome your support and understanding during this time.”

The consultation is being run in partnership between the Atholl Medical Centre and the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and a spokesperson for the partnership said  “Atholl Medical Centre and Perth and Kinross HSCP are working together to engage with patients and the local community about this proposal and seek their views on what it could mean for them. 

“A letter and frequently asked questions document are being sent to all patients registered at the Blair Atholl Branch Surgery to provide more information about the proposal and advise how they can give feedback about the proposed changes. Comment boxes will also be available at a number of locations in the local area so patients or community members can give feedback.  

“Once this engagement has taken place in the local community, a detailed report about the proposal for closure will be presented at the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board before it is taken to NHS Tayside for final decision.”

Alongside the letter all patients will have received a series of Frequently asked questions, which outlines why they are receiving the letter, what the proposal is and why they want to close the surgery, what it means for patients and how feedback can be given.

The FAQs included alongside the letter:

Anyone who wants to give feedback, raise a concern or ask a question about the change can get in touch by emailing tay.pkhscp@nhs.scot or through comment boxes located in:

  • Atholl Stores, The Square Blair Atholl
  • Tilt Stores, Main Street, Blair Atholl
  • Pitlochry Community Hospital
  • Atholl Medical Practice, Pitlochry

The proposal has been welcomed by Highland Ward Councillor John Duff who said: “The potential loss of their doctor’s surgery is a matter of significant concern to the people of Blair Atholl and district.”

Cllr Duff went on to add “I would encourage every patient to complete and return the feedback form as their comments will be vital to the outcome of the consultation and the greater the number of forms returned, the more significant the results will be.”

A copy of the letter and FAQs can be found on the Atholl Medical Centre Facebook Page.

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