NHS GRAMPIAN MOVE TO CONTINUE DISPENSING AT UDNY STATION – FURTHER REPORT ON AREAS TO FOLLOW

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NHS Grampian board met Thursday 6th July to decide the fate of Udny Station surgery. The recommendation was to continue for a limited number of patients. Concerns were this would be too limited to make the future viable.

The Press and Journal reported the meeting:

Health bosses have approved a reduction in prescription dispensary at three rural surgeries.

Udny Station’s Scotstown medical practice and another in Auchenblae were two of six threatened with losing their dispensary services completely.

Instead, NHS Grampian opted yesterday to keep dispensaries at both facilities but significantly reduce the number of patients able to use them.

A similar arrangement was put in place for Rhynie Medical Practice.

The board also decided to scrap dispensaries at Portlethen and Skene while there was no decision taken either way for Gardenstown as there is no service in place there at present.

Under the new arrangements at the retained services, only patients who the board defines as facing “serious difficulties” accessing medicine elsewhere will be allowed to use the dispensaries.

This is loosely defined as pertaining to the distance to an alternative pharmacy, issues of communication and other exceptional circumstances.

However after an appeal from Mid-Formartine councillor Paul Johnston, who spoke at the meeting, the board agreed to a review of the AB23 postcode area – areas including Whitecairns and Belhelvie – to ensure no patients who relied on the service were missing out.

This will be carried out by the city’s health and social care partnership as Scotstown’s main surgery is in Bridge of Don.

The review will take over six months and will run parallel to the implementation of the new system, which is expected to take a year.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Johnston said he was glad the board had listened to his request.

“I am pleased that the board is trying to have a more flexible approach to this process,” he said.

The health board revealed last year that it was considering scrapping prescription services in these areas. The announcement caused uproar in many of the communities, with fears that older residents would not be able to make the trip elsewhere to pick up medicine.

A lengthy public consultation was subsequently held, with about 1,300 people taking part.

Last night, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said it was positive that a service had been retained at the facility. She said: “Access to vital services are essential particularly in rural areas such as Udny where travel, particularly for older people, might not be possible.

“I would like to say thank you to the local community for all their hard work and in particular William Grant who has worked tirelessly to make sure the voices of residents have been heard loud and clear.”

The decision was to agree where patients would have serious difficulty in an area, which the report had failed to make clear. This was patients who had serious difficulty in the AB41 7 postcode area south of the A920 road. Those patients in AB41 9 post code sector west of the A90 and AB21 0 postcode east of the A947.  Dr Lamberton and Councillor Paul Johnston made representations over patients in the AB23 post code down to Potterton.

These postcodes, after the presentations would be the subject of a further report in six months to allow a report on the numbers of patients with serious difficulty in various postcode walk areas to be calculated.

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