An Auchenblae GP has warned that GP services in the village could be affected if the surgery loses it’s ability to dispense prescriptions.
NHS Grampian are currently undertaking a consultation to review dispensing practices at six surgeries, including Auchenblae and Portlethen. Whereas most surgeries give out prescriptions to be picked up at a local pharmacy, in Auchenblae the prescriptions are given out within the surgery.
Dr Keith Pirie explained that for Auchenblae patients, they would potentially have to travel to Laurencekirk or Stonehaven to pick up prescriptions. He added: “NHS Grampian are trying to find out the number of patients who might have “serious difficulty” in getting to a pharmacist to get medicines rather than obtaining them from us. If we lose dispensing then virtually all prescriptions would have to be obtained by a visit to a pharmacy. We would keep a small supply of drugs for dealing with emergency situations, as do all GP practices.
Dr Pirie added: “An additional issue is that the surgery has been developed/funded in part over the last 25 years by dispensing income. That may not quite accord with current legislation but it is the reality nonethless. Losing dispensing would make it difficult to maintain the practice as it is currently. My ultimate concern is that, not only might patients eventually have to go to Laurencekirk or Stonehaven to pick up their prescriptions but also for their medical services.
“However NHS Grampian are having to comply with legislation which states that their only real consideration is whether or not patients would have serious difficulty in getting their prescriptions if the practice no longer dispenses. We must work on the assumption that the only thing that carries any weight is the number of patients who come forward.” Of the 2,000 patients registered at Auchenblae, just 180 have replied so far. The consultation period lasts until this Friday (September 30) and Dr Pirie is urging as many people as possible to have their say.