NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Work taken forward to re-establish independent GP practices

WORK is underway to see two GP practices in Stranraer returned to independent status – instead of being managed by the Health Board.

This follows on from the successful return of Lochinch GP Practice in Stranraer to independent status in December 2021, with this having proved a very positive development.

Following the resignation of the previous GP partners, Lochree and Lochnaw are currently being managed directly by NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

Linda Bunney is Head of Primary Care Services for NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and she said: “It’s been a difficult few years for Lochree and Lochnaw medical practices and their patients.

“In addition to the massive impact of COVID, these practices have been faced with very significant challenges around staffing. 

“Undoubtedly there has been an impact on services provided, and this has been felt more acutely in recent months.

“However, very positively, we’re now at a stage where we can seek to re-establish these practices under the management of a new partnership team.”

Current arrangements mean that the responsibility for the day-to-day running of these practices sits with the NHS Dumfries and Galloway and not, as is the normal model, with the practices themselves.

The procurement process to seek a new provider for each of these practices is now being readied, and will be advertised on the national contracts portal. 

This will mean that the necessary steps are taken to ensure that the Board is able to be confident that the new providers will be able to take responsibility for the management of the practices.

Linda Bunney said: “Moves to re-establish these practices in the hands of independent contractors is a very positive development, recognising that this will place them in line with the majority of other GP practices within the region.

“In the meantime, services continue to be provided from the GP practices, and work is taking place to secure staffing levels necessary to provide general medical services for patients.

“We would ask all patients at the practices to be patient and supportive as this work progresses, with the intention of keeping everyone informed as we hopefully move towards a positive outcome.”