AN ONLINE booking system is being considered at Riverside Medical Practice in Musselburgh in a bid to reduce phone calls for appointments, the town's MSP has revealed.

Colin Beattie's comments follows a "positive meeting" with health bosses in the wake of patients' concerns about the service at the enlarged practice in the Musselburgh Primary Care Centre.

The Musselburgh MSP met with doctors and staff at the surgery, along with representatives from East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

Mr Beattie said: "There is no doubt that there are issues around patients’ communication with the surgery, particularly at peak times. I was pleased that the surgery has recognised this and was in a position to give me a briefing on the situation."

He said doctors were now up to their full staffing level of 14 and an additional four staff members to take phone calls were in the process of being recruited.

During the visit, Mr Beattie had the chance to discuss other new initiatives which were "positively transforming the surgery".

He said: "While much work seems to have been done, more still has to be achieved to improve the service to patients.

"I am confident that Riverside and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership are seriously addressing their remaining issues and I will be keeping in close contact going forward to ensure that my constituents receive the service they should expect."

He added that the practice was looking at introducing an online appointment booking system, which it is anticipated would reduce phone calls to the practice.

Riverside was also looking at different options as to how to more effectively manage phone calls at the volume it was receiving, he said.

Mr Beattie said: "I have encouraged the practice to expedite the introduction of the online appointment booking system, which I feel will have the greatest and quickest effect on the experience of patients contacting the surgery."

He also raised the concerns of patients who might have to speak to multiple staff over a period before they were dealt with.

"Clearly a single point of contact who can immediately direct the patient to the correct destination would be cheaper for the surgery and more efficient and less frustrating for the patient," added Mr Beattie.