EFFORTS to attract new doctors to a medical practice in Easter Ross are continuing seven months after it was taken over by NHS Highland.
Alness and Invergordon Medical Practice have been criticized by frustrated patients unable to reach the phone and unhappy with the time it sometimes takes to get an appointment.
The management of the old regime was strongly criticized by some and the health board finally intervened in February to try to stabilize the situation and take over the management of the practice.
Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Maree Todd, who received an update report on the situation, welcomed NHS Highland’s commitment to improving service.
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In an update released by the health board, NHS Highland said: “Practice management is supported by NHS Highland and a detailed action plan has been developed to support improvement and maintain patient safety. patients.
“Currently there are a number of advanced nurse practitioners, nursing and administrative staff, although there are vacancies, but notably we do not have salaried GPs and are dependent on locums. both face to face and remotely.
“There is ongoing work to identify an appropriate workforce model that can be implemented to provide a resilient and secure service for the future and which will attract GPs to important roles within the practice team.This is also in line with financial and budgetary review to ensure that any model is within our financial means.
“The telephone system has been upgraded and although there is an improvement in the number of lines available, continued support is needed to maximize the potential.
“A number of visits and inspections have identified areas for improvement to the content and structure of the building at Alness and work is underway to deliver both rapid improvements and longer term plans for large-scale renovations.”
NHS Highland also said a patient engagement group had been set up and met frequently.
Maree Todd said: “I welcome this update from NHS Highland on Alness & Invergordon Medical Practice. I think we are seeing improvements in practice, but I agree with NHS Highland that further work is needed to ensure a resilient service that serves the community well.
“I know that many of my constituents have experienced difficulties with the cabinet telephone system, so I am delighted to see an acknowledgment of this in the statement from NHS Highland. Hopefully further system improvements can be implemented to minimize the long delays some are experiencing.
“I am extremely encouraged that a Patient Engagement Group has been formed, which I am confident will play an important role in ensuring that the voice of patients is heard as NHS Highland seeks to develop and support the office improvements.
“I will continue in my role as local MSP to support constituents and highlight areas of concern for the health board and seek further improvements.”