SNP Councillors Raise Concerns on Healthcare 'Asset Stripping'

>> 28 March 2024

Following recent decisions regarding overnight closures of the Minor Injuries Units at Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Huntly, it has now also emerged that access to some local GP practices is being reduced.

The Central Buchan Medical Practice was recently taken over by the Ayrshire Medical Group, a private company, and they have announced that the GP service at Strichen is being limited to one day per week with patients being forced to travel to Maud or New Pitsligo to see their GP.

Speaking about this cutback, local councillor Geoff Crowson stated that this was simply not good enough, commenting:

“I know there are difficulties regarding GP recruitment for rural areas but this decision has come as a bolt out of the blue for many people. We knew about the change in management but we had been reassured that this would make little difference to the local service. Now we find that this private company, whose purpose it is to make a profit, have decided that local access to GP consultation it to be restricted.

“While I welcome that negotiations with local Health and Social Care Partnership management has led to a half day being restored, following on from the intended overnight closure of our local Minor Injuries Units, I can’t help but feel our rural communities are being treated inequitably.

“These GP contracts should have minimum service level guarantees for local, often isolated communities. What are our elderly and vulnerable folk to do, especially those without access to a car?”

Councillor Crowson’s concerns were echoed by Councillor Seamus Logan who is a member of the Integrated Joint Board (IJB), the body which oversees the work of the Health and Social Care Partnership. He said:

“This is the second service reduction that I have become aware of involving this particular company, the other is in Aberchirder where patients must now travel to Portsoy following a reduction in opening hours in the town.

“We are witnessing the creeping privatisation of our NHS where profit comes before patients. These are local decisions which need to be scrutinised and I intend to raise these issues at the earliest opportunity within the IJB to see if there are any steps we can take to ensure that our GP services are protected against this type of approach.

“Looking at the wider picture, our NHS services are being deliberately starved of resources by the UK Treasury while they favour tax cuts instead of decent public services.”


Central Buchan Councillor Crowson Questions Authorities on Strichen Surgery Reductions

>> 21 March 2024

Central Buchan SNP councillor Geoff Crowson is seeking answers after being contacted by residents concerned that the GP surgery in Strichen will have its opening hours reduced to Thursdays only with effect from 1 April.

The changes have apparently been instructed by Ayrshire Medical Group who operate the Central Buchan Practice as a contractor to NHS Grampian.

Commenting, Cllr Crowson said:

“It’s bad enough to find out about such a major change within the community by social media but I feel very sorry for the loyal and hardworking staff at Strichen who have been left to break this news to their patients.

“There has been no consultation on these radical changes nor any explanation of why the assurances previously given to patients in Strichen have now been broken.

“I am seeking answers from Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care as to what discussions were had and what support was offered in an effort to keep the service at Strichen operating on the current basis.”


UK Govt Needs to do the Right Thing by WASPI Campaigners - Logan

SNP Westminster candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East Seamus Logan has welcomed today’s findings by the Parliamentary Ombudsman in respect of the Women’s State Pension Age investigation and said the UK Government needs to do the right thing and compensate the women affected by its maladministration.

The UK Government have refused to compensate the women affected and the Ombudsman even goes so far to state that the “DWP has clearly indicated that it will refuse to comply” with the report’s findings, a move branded by Mr Logan as “outrageously disrespectful” to the women.

Commenting, Seamus Logan said:

“The WASPI women have waited a long time for the publication of this report and it is a complete vindication of their campaign for justice.

“The Ombudsman has found maladministration and says there is an injustice which needs to be put right and compensation paid out.

“It is therefore outrageously disrespectful to the campaigners who have waited so long for this report for the Conservative UK Government through its Department for Work and Pensions to say it will refuse to comply with the report’s findings.

“Let’s be clear about this: the report leaves the UK Government without a leg to stand on and they should do the right thing by the campaigners and set out how and when they will be compensated. Nothing less will do.”


Peterhead Councillors React to Minor Injuries Unit Decision

>> 20 March 2024

Peterhead SNP councillors Leeann McWhinnie (Peterhead North and Rattray) and Stephen Smith (Peterhead South and Cruden) have condemned the decision made on a vote today (Wednesday) to close the town’s Minor Injuries Unit overnight.

SNP members of Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership Integration Joint Board (IJB) voted against proposals to close Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Huntly’s Minor Injuries Units overnight as part of a series of budget proposals.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“This is a deeply disappointing decision which didn’t need to be taken. I made my views known to my colleagues on the Board who put forward a proposal to keep the Minor Injuries Units as they are.

“Conservative and Lib Dem councillors voted to withdraw the evening and overnight service and this is a backward step. The largest town in Aberdeenshire deserves better.”

Cllr Leeann McWhinnie added:

“While accepting this is a Minor Injuries Unit and not an Accident and Emergency service, this decision will inevitably lead to more people attending ARI and increasing pressure on the hospital there. We should be looking to expand provision in Peterhead or at least maintain it, not reduce services.”

Commenting after the meeting, Integration Joint Board member Cllr Seamus Logan (SNP-Fraserburgh and District) said:

“The Board’s decision today to close overnight three Minor Injuries Units at Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Huntly is extremely disappointing and is a blow to these communities.

“These services are being used appropriately by significant numbers of people every week. I also pointed out during the meeting that this move will load further pressure on services at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Emergency Department not to mention the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“Our service users were given insufficient time to digest these proposals and to assert their rights under legislation to have their voice heard today as these cuts were only made public last week.

“A number of other proposals gave me cause for concern, in particular the possibility of a further review of our vital local hospital provision. We need to be thinking more strategically, investing in these services, extending their reach so we prevent admissions through early intervention by delivering more care in people’s homes. In other words, we need more transformative change so that our NHS is developed securely as it moves towards its centenary rather than short term measures focused on the annual race to save money.”


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