MP raises concerns after computer glitches close GP surgery

A call has been made for more support for patients experiencing difficulties as a result of a temporary closure of Wigtown GP practice due to computer problems.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack was responding to news the surgery was shutting its doors to patients until Monday December 17 'at the earliest.'

The decision leaves patients with appointments, including those frail, elderly or with other mobility problems, with an eight-mile journey to a sister GP practice at the Health Centre, Creebridge, Newton Stewart.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway explained that 'continuing technical difficulties,' preventing GPs and staff accessing the computer network, had earlier appeared resolved.

However, recurring problems meant that the practice management have now arranged to transfer Wigtown surgeries to Newton Stewart to allow for the technical issue to be fully resolved and tested.

Officials admitted that the Creebridge facility was now busier than usual because of the arrangement and thanked patients for their patience and understanding.

Alister Jack has been contacted by constituents unhappy with the relocation and has written to NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace to raise their concerns.

Mr Jack said: "Patients who do not drive, are unable to or do not have access to a lift are facing genuine difficulties if their appointment does not fit in with the limited public transport.

"When you consider the return journey times, patients can be left waiting for a considerable period before being able to get a bus home. For patients who are elderly, frail or disabled this is not acceptable."

The MP highlighted concerns that patients due to receive flu-jabs may also required to travel to Newton Stewart and he called on the local NHS to put on a special bus service or other alternative transport.

He also sought clarification on suggestions that GP practice flu-jab clinics may be transferred to direct Health Board management.

Meanwhile, Mr Jack called on local NHS chiefs to give a reassurance about the long-term future of the Wigtown surgery after cuts in hours during recent years fuelled local concerns.

He added: "If they confirm that such a proposal will not be considered, it would allay these widely held fears."