Last week, Michelle Ballantyne MSP asked the Scottish Government for assurances over appointment bookings at Tranent Medical Practise.
At the Scottish Parliament’s Portfolio Questions, the South Scotland MSP highlighted that patients at the East Lothian GP surgery are no longer able to book appointments. Due to the shortage of medical practitioners, Tranenet residents have voiced their concerns over the difficulty in seeking medical advice.
From Monday, appointments to see a doctor will only be given on the day.
In a statement posted online, the practice said: “The step is being taken as a result of an ongoing shortage of GPs within the practice, which is due to a combination of sickness and recruitment issues.
Mrs. Ballantyne initially asked the Health Secretary what action it’s taking to help rural areas recruit more GPs. Jeane Freeman responded by saying that the Scottish Government is providing “recruitment incentives” for those willing to specialise as general practitioners and are willing to relocate to rural areas.
However, The Scottish Conservative MSP highlighted that the Scottish Government was not moving fast enough to improve GP recruitment in her region. She called on the Scottish Government to ensure that more East Lothian residents are not impacted by the doctor shortages.
The Health Secretary pointed at Brexit as a reason for low recruitment but denied any wrongdoing on the Scottish Government’s behalf.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP emphasised that the absence of advance bookings at GP practise could prevent working people from being able to access surgeries, and called on the SNP Government to take responsibility for ensuring that GPs are accessible to all.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
“It’s incredibly concerning to see that Tranent Medical Practise has removed advance bookings for appointments. This is a clear reflection of the SNP Government’s failure to recruit medical staff.
“This decision will impact many local residents, especially those who are in full time work and rely on the appointment system to ensure they receive medical treatment in a timely manner.
“The Health Secretary has claimed that SNP Government are improving recruitment, however, this clearly isn’t happening quickly enough.
“The Scottish Government must take action to ensure that other surgeries in East Lothian are not forced into implementing similar measures.”