RESIDENTS are being urged to get involved in the Patient Participation Group set up by Riverside Medical Practice in Musselburgh as improvements to the service are under way.

The group was highlighted by Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, who recently met Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, following “overwhelming public concern regarding the serious lack of appointments to see a doctor and the poor level of service offered by the practice”.

Mr Beattie stated that a spokesperson from the medical practice, which is based at Musselburgh Primary Care Centre, indicated that “improvements in the way patients are being cared for in Musselburgh are in the process of being made”.

Early evaluation of the way services were being delivered since the launch of the Collaborative Working for Immediate Care service – run by East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) and the merged Eskbridge and Riverside Medical Practices – demonstrated that patients who previously would have seen a GP were now seeing the right clinician at the right time for their specific needs.

The new service, developed in partnership by Riverside, NHS 24 and ELHSCP, ensured that urgent care was dealt with on the same day and patients should have “no anxieties” about being seen by the right professional at the right time.

Through this new way of delivering patient care, it not only provided an increase in the number of patient appointments with practice GPs and other healthcare professionals, but also provided an increase in appointment length for patients with complex needs.

A recent survey conducted within the practice demonstrated that more than half of patients agreed that they did not always need to see a GP.

Work is also under way by ELHSCP to implement a new telephone and IT system that will support call demand into the practice.

The importance of patient involvement in getting services right is “very much recognised” by the practice, which is encouraging residents to get involved with the Patient Participation Group.

Speaking after meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Beattie said: “I would like to assure all of my constituents that patient care is of paramount importance and that all agencies involved in the new way services are being delivered within Musselburgh Primary Care Centre are focused on delivering the best care possible.

“Riverside Medical Practice is working with other organisations to ensure that improvements are made and I would encourage anyone with any issues regarding the practice to get in touch with them and become involved with the patient participation group.

“I am hopeful that the improvements being made by the organisations will be seen by patients and a vastly improved service will be delivered.

“I will continue to closely monitor the future performance of the practice and ask patients to keep me advised on whether the improvements are working.”