Peterhead Doctors Express Grave Concern on Overnight Closure of Minor Injuries Units

>> 15 May 2024

A group of doctors in Peterhead have expressed the most serious concerns about the decision by the local Integrated Joint Board to close the town’s Minor Injuries Unit overnight later this year.

Representatives of the local medical community met with Cllr Seamus Logan, an SNP Candidate for Westminster and member of the IJB who spoke out against the cuts. Several GPs and others stated that they were totally opposed to the decision which they said could lead to premature deaths. Other local politicians including MSP Karen Adam have expressed similar concerns.

The GPs stated that they had not been consulted in any way prior to the decision, that it would inevitably create further pressure on their already overstretched general practice and that some people would inevitably decide to go to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) during the night rather than wait on a response from the out of hours services.

They drew attention to what they described as ‘misleading data’ provided in an audit which was presented to the IJB, highlighting a large volume of presentations which were listed as ‘inappropriate’ and which they believed ‘skewed’ the data.

Commenting after the meeting, Cllr Seamus Logan said;

“It is almost beyond belief that these Doctors were not consulted, they are also utterly bewildered as to why there has been no consultation with the Scottish Ambulance service.

“They told me that the local Unit is a ‘minor injuries unit’ in name only and provides a vital service as a walk-in emergency service to the local community. I am convinced that it is not overstating the case to say that this closure could lead to deaths in some instances if patients who attend with serious symptoms are not offered immediate attention by the nurses who work overnight in these Units.

“I have personal experience of the 111 service and am aware of the very high call abandonment rate to that service. It simply isn’t good enough to expect other services to pick up cases previously seen at these Units. These Doctors told me there is no other part of Scotland where two major centres of population (Peterhead and Fraserburgh) are being left without any kind of locally accessible overnight emergency service.”

Councillor Logan also drew attention to proposed changes to out of hours medical cover provided by GMED which he understood could mean that there will be no out of hours doctor based in either Fraserburgh or Peterhead. He also referenced the supporting role that the Units provide to Police Scotland out of hours. He added:

“I worked most of my life in health and social care and the absence of even internal consultation is completely at odds with my experience of how management decisions are taken.

“I’m calling for an immediate suspension of this decision to allow for proper consultation and a review of all the relevant services that are involved. This is essential especially in light of the additional funding provided to Aberdeenshire Council in February by the Scottish Government. This funding is currently being kept in reserve by the Council and it could be deployed to avoid this essential service being cut in this manner.”

Dr Graham Strachan, Medical Director of Peterhead Hospital added:

“The MIU is a "safe haven" for the people of Peterhead, especially the elderly and socially disadvantaged. It provides a much greater role than that described in the IJB document and is staffed by nurses highly skilled in resuscitation and in stabilising seriously unwell patients.

“These sick patients have been omitted from the figures presented to the IJB and on which they have based their decision. We believe that the overnight closure and loss of the GMED service is highly dangerous and will result in excess fatalities.”


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.”


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