MSP welcomes review into Lothian medical practice plagued with complaints from patients

An independent review has been announced to assess a medical practice in East Lothian plagued with reports that patients haven’t been able to book an appointment – or even get through to the practice on the phone.

The review panel will allow patients to provide feedback on their experiences at Riverside Medical Practice, which is based at Musselburgh Primary Care Centre.

It will also consider non-clinical administrative operating procedures at Riverside.

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Colin Beattie, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, welcomed the announcement and hopes this is a step in the right direction for the practice and overall healthcare provision across Musselburgh and the surrounding areas.

An independent review has been announced to assess patient concerns regarding access to care provided by Riverside Medical Practice in Musselburgh.

The independent review is fully supported by Riverside Medical Practice, NHS Lothian and the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

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Mr Beattie said: “I welcome the announcement that an independent review will now commence to consider how the practice provides access to primary care.

“I hope and expect that the panel will fully engage with my constituents who have long awaited for action to be taken.

“I have regularly held meetings with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Officials, and the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership to discuss the access issues and ultimately, find a positive way forward.

“I am pleased those discussions have now resulted in an independent review panel being established with all parties willing to cooperate throughout the process.

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“This is a step forward for the patients at Riverside and a step towards improving the access to healthcare across Musselburgh.

“I have already submitted over 100 pages to the review panel of anonymous accounts my constituents have shared with me and I will continue to engage with the review team to ensure their voices are heard.

“It is important that the patients are at the forefront of this review and any recommendations are swiftly put in place following its conclusion.”

In March 2019, Riverside Medical Practice featured in a list of the 20 worst GP surgeries across Edinburgh and the Lothians as part of the annual NHS Health and Care Experience Survey, which asked people about their experiences with local health care and access.

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In October 2020, nearly 600 people signed an online petition calling for easier access to the surgery.

“It is never easy to get through to get an appointment and when you do you cannot get to speak to a doctor,” said Michelle Corbett, who created the petition.

“Reception staff are friendly and great but they are vetting who you can get a conversation with.”

A spokesperson for the Riverside Medical Practice said at the time: “We are very aware that our patients have experienced particular difficulties or delays getting through to the practice by telephone at this time. We are experiencing unprecedented high levels of calls.”

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They added: “Our practice staff are working additional hours to try and try to ease the situation for our patients.

“We have also for the past months escalated the significant level of feedback and concerns to the ElHSCP so as to ensure they are fully aware of the situation and work closely with us to support this community.”

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