Stonehaven GPs explain new appointments system

The public meeting in the town hall was well attended
The public meeting in the town hall was well attended

More than 200 people attended a public meeting called to explain changes to appointments at Stonehaven Medical Group.

The practice has introduced a system, eConsult, in which residents to submit a request for a same-day consultation via the surgery’s website.

The GPs answered questions about the new appointment system

The GPs answered questions about the new appointment system

But the move has been criticised by some patients and a petition was handed into the group complaining about the online service.

Stonehaven and District Community Council was approached by the GPs about hosting a public meeting.

It was held in the town hall last Thursday and partners from the medical group heard concerns and praise for the new system.

Dr Kris McLaughlin said later: “It was a great opportunity to be able to speak directly to our patient population and many of the people who attended raised concerns that we are already addressing.

“We fully recognise that the eConsult system for booking same day appointments may take some time to bed in, however there are also many benefits to using the system.

“They include the ability for the clinical team to triage patients, making sure that the those with the greatest need are seen as a matter of priority.”

Local Councillor Sarah Dickinson, who attended the meeting, said afterwards: “I think the key points are that the surgery wished us to understand that this change was driven by the patient benefits it sees coming from the changes.

“Residents highlighted many concerns, difficulties and frustrations with the new system and not least the lack of engagement and consultation prior to the roll out of the system which, had they occurred, might have helped to ensure a smoother transition.”

Community council chairman Raymond Christie said the GPs had agreed to hold a similar event in a few months’ time to see how the new system had progressed.

He added: “We were very pleased to host the meeting.”