General Patient Notice
Newbattle Medical Group, along with the vast majority of General Practices across Scotland is under immense pressure to sustain services to the community. As a result of the demand on all of our services , we are having to make adjustments to how we operate which may have an impact on how you currently use our service.
Why is this happening?
There are a number of financial pressures being placed on the practice meaning that there is less money to invest in frontline staff. In 22/23 and 23/24 Scottish Government decided that GP administrative staff were not to be uplifted in line with equivalent hospital staff. We protected our staff from this but this leads to a significant shortfall. For the last two years of very high inflation our expenses uplift has been no where near the true cost of the rise in goods we must purchase (medical equipment, stationary etc). We have also been served with notice by NHS Lothian to meet the significant inflationary uplift to services they provide, such as building maintenance and cleaning. This combination means we have far less money to support the community with frontline clinical and administrative staff. Worse still, for 24/25, NHS Lothian have been told by Scottish Government to cut their budget by 7%. This means the likelihood of any direct support for General Practice to assist us with these challenges is highly unlikely.
This financial backdrop is making an already difficult situation worse. Scotland has one of the most unwell populations in Europe along with a massive growth in the elderly population, meaning demand for healthcare is rocketing whilst the available workforce is dropping.
What will be changing?
Currently we provide eConsult to our patients 24/7. We are required to reduce this to 0600-1900 Monday to Friday. This will ease some of the pressure on our administrative team and allow us to concentrate our working hours within the standard working week. In the future, we may also be required to introduce a cap on the number of eConsults that we process each day. We will continue to operate a 24/7 service for repeat prescription requests.
What is the impact on me?
In the out of hours period we would encourage you to visit www.nhsinform.scot or call 111 rather than use eConsult. We remain committed to keep eConsult open either side of normal hours to help and support our working population. However, you may also experience eConsult not operating during a very busy day. If this is the case, if you cannot wait to complete an eConsult the following day, then please call the practice where we will assist on a needs first basis.
Please be assured, all our team will continue to strive to provide the best care and support to patients. Our administrative team will continue to help guide you and support you whenever looking for care. Please be supportive of them too; the rates of abuse to staff has risen and this will not be tolerated. To give you more of an idea on the pressures we face we would encourage you to read this article published very recently. Ben Shankland is a GP, but the rightwing press would tell you he’s an enemy of the people. Don’t listen | Polly Toynbee | The Guardian
Many thanks for understanding and patience throughout this difficult time.
Newbattle Medical Group