More appointments available

We are seeing more and more requests for appointments to see the GP.   We want to make sure that all patients can get seen the same day if at all possible, so we are going to update our appointment schedule.

In July 2011, we usually had 16 GP appointments available per day.  We increased that to 20 appointments per day in August 2011.  On busy days that is still not enough and we have often had to 'double' up appointments.  This is mainly an issue with Dr Coull's clinics, which are busier.  To make sure that we have enough appointments for everyone who wants to be seen by Dr Coull, he will now have between 25 and 29 appointments per day. 

To make this possible, Dr Coull will be booking 10 minute appointments rather than 15 minute appointments.  Patients should not usually notice a difference, as Dr Coull will move paperwork and routine dispensing checks to later in the day.   However, at times patients may notice the practice is busier and that there is a little less time with the doctor.  This was already happening when patients were being 'doubled up' before, and the new appointments should make this less noticeable.

If you have any questions or comments about the improvements, please don't hesitate to ask.

BASICS Ambulance Doctor Car

Strachur Medical Practice now has a BASICS immediate care scheme running for the practice area.

The British Association for Immediate Care is a charity supporting doctors who give their time voluntarily to provide cover for emergencies.

Like other BASICS doctors across the UK, Dr Coull, who is an experienced Immediate Care doctor, is providing his time voluntarily to respond to any emergencies or 999 calls in the area. Dr Coull has the Diploma in Immediate Care and has completed a certified blue-light driver training course.

The ambulance car is fitted with special emergency equipment (including a defibrillator) and a stretcher.  It is insured to carry patients and it is fitted with blue lights and a siren.  It has a Scottish Ambulance Service transponder which allows ambulance control to track its movements.

Currently the vehicle is available about a third of the time, but we hope to encourage more doctors in the area to take the additional training and volunteer to respond to emergencies.

The ambulance car has been bought and kitted out by R K Coull Ltd - Dr Coull's family business. This allows it to also be used for things like event cover which can help cover the costs of the vehicle and equipment.

Practice unaffected by doctors' strike

Strachur Medical Practice will be open as normal today from 9am until 1pm.

The BMA doctors' strike being held today means that doctors across the UK will be providing urgent and emergency treatment only today.

We only provide urgent care on a Thursday normally, so the strike will not affect us.

The reception and dispensary will also be open as normal today.

Important Changes at the Strachur Medical Practice

There are some important changes happening at the Strachur Medical Practice.

  1. Dr Tittmar will be moving to Tighnabruaich from April 2012.
  2. Regular 'cross-cover' day every Thursday - the practice will be covered by the Tighnabruaich doctor on Thursdays.
  3. More appointments at other times of the week including planned evening surgery.
  4. Increased Practice Nursing hours.
  5. Introduction of Doctor Ambulance.

Health Board removes Salaried Doctor funding
Highland Health Board made a significant change to the funding of Strachur Medical Practice when Dr Wright passed away. Highland Health Board removed the funding for a salaried doctor and replaced it with a smaller locum doctor fund. The new funding can only be used for locums, and not for a salaried doctor such as Dr Wright or Dr Tittmar. We had hoped that Dr Tittmar would be able to stay on as a locum at the practice, but he has let us know that he needs the stability of regular employment. We are very disappointed, but we want to wish Dr Tittmar well in his new job.

Cross-cover day
To make up for the reduction in our budget, we have had to start a regular cross-cover day with one of our neighbours. This is an arrangement that other small practices have (eg: Scouri and Durness in Highland). Tighnabruaich is larger than Strachur and they still have funding for their salaried doctor. They have agreed to cover our patients one day per week.

More appointments at other times
As Thursday will now be a cross-cover day, there will be no routine appointments on a Thursday morning. Instead, there will be more appointments available other days. We are also planning Tuesday evening surgeries for patients that find it hard to come to the practice during working hours.

Practice Nursing hours increased
To make it easier for patients to see the Practice Nurse, we are adding an extra half-day per week of Practice Nursing time. We are also planning a 'phlebotomy' service just for taking blood samples. Kate will be moving her Thursday morning clinic to a Wednesday morning so that she is working at the same time as the doctor.

Doctor Ambulance
To make it easier to get patients to hospital in an emergency, Strachur Medical Practice will be getting a doctor car that that will be equipped and insured to carry patients. This will make a big difference when a traditional ambulance is not able to attend quickly enough.

We are planning to hold a public meeting in March to discuss these changes (date to be arranged). If you have any concerns, comments, questions, or suggestions please let us know.

Online Appointment booking, Results checking, and Repeat Prescriptions

We're delighted to announce that our online patient services are finally here.

EMIS Access is a secure way for patients to book appointments online, check results of tests, and order repeat prescriptions.

For security reasons, to register for our online services you need to order a Registration Form.  If you call in or call us we can print one out for you.  You can then go online and enter the details on the form to register. 

Appointment booking will be up and running in the next few days, and we will be adding results checking soon.  Repeat Prescriptions will be available in the next few months, EMIS assure us.

We've been waiting a long time for these features, and we hope you find them as exciting as we do.