As recently reported in the Courier (see below), the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has intervened in the Ryehill Health Centre concerns by raising the issue with Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care.
Alex said :
“I have raised the concerns over Ryehill Health Centre with the health secretary at the request of West End Councillor Fraser Macpherson who has already asked NHS Tayside to consider taking over the running of the health centre rather than see it closed and the patients having to be disbursed to other GP practices.
“The impact of having to absorb 5400 patients into other local GP practices would be very significant, adding to pressure in these other practices but also meaning that all the Ryehill patients will have to be found new GPs – a huge task.
“It would make a lot of sense for the health board to take over the direct running of Ryehill and I have asked the health secretary to step in to ensure that NHS Tayside taking over the direct running of the health centre is firmly on the table.”
I had already written to Lorna Birse-Stewart, Chair of Tayside Health Board, and Grant Archibald, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside seeking clarification of the Health Board’s commitment to the 5400 Dundee patients affected by the proposed closure of the Ryehill Health Centre and saying it should do all it can to keep the practice open.
NHS Tayside needs to be much clearer as to how it will support the patients at Ryehill and I have asked for assurances that the Health Board has discussed all the options and will consider taking over the running of the health centre rather than see it closed and the patients disbursed to other GP practices.
NHS Tayside and the Health and Social Care Partnership have to be clear as to how it is tackling the Ryehill medical practice’s decision to relinquish its contract with the Health Board and supporting the thousands of patients involved to have access to GP services locally.
I cannot accept that, after so many years of service to the community, the approach of the Health Board is to simply accept it closes. It must look at the option of running the practice itself to keep it open. NHS Tayside already directly runs four GP practices across Tayside including the Maryfield Health Centre. If it can be done there, it can be done at Ryehill Health Centre.
I am very pleased that Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has now raised this with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care as we need assurances from ministers and from the health board that the proposal to save Ryehill Health Centre through direct NHS Tayside management will be actively considered by the Health Board.
It strikes me as infinitely preferable that the health board keeps the practice open under NHS Tayside management than closes it which would mean thousands of people having to be found a new GP. Adding 5400 people across the other GP practices in Dundee will simply add to the pressure on these practices and the quality of service and I don’t see that as in any way the best outcome.