Today, Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, met again with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf to address the wholly unacceptable situation at Riverside Medical Practice.
Mr Beattie expressed the great concerns of his constituents and stated the issue has carried on for too long. The constituency MSP has demanded action is taken now.
It is agreed by all parties that the demand for healthcare in Musselburgh exceeds the capacity the Practice can provide. It was also agreed that issues remain regarding resource allocation and data provided in order to draw comparisons with the healthcare provided across East Lothian to provide the Scottish Government with a fuller picture of the access issues patients face at Riverside.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“This is a pre-pandemic issue where patients have struggled to access the first basic step in the healthcare system. I do not believe the severe circumstances Riverside patients encounter accessing healthcare is comparable to any other medical practice in the Lothian region.
“Following discussion with the Cabinet Secretary today, I am glad he has personally taken this issue on board and wants to seek out a solution. This intervention is much required, and I truly believe he wants to help the patients at Riverside access the healthcare they require.
“I have expressed my frustrations that meeting after meeting has taken place, yet no solution has been proposed to this long-term issue - a frustration the Cabinet Secretary shared with myself and my constituents.
“I remain concerned with the access issues at Riverside. The Cabinet Secretary understands action needs to be taken to resolve these issues and I hope he and his team can work with the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership to find an urgent and much needed solution.
“I want to reassure my constituents that I am focused on solving these access issues and working with all parties to do so. I hope to meet again with the Cabinet Secretary in the coming weeks for an update.”
Colin Beattie MSP has expressed great concern over the Pharmacy Practices Committee’s (PPC) decision to reject the appeal of the application for a pharmacy in Rosewell.
The PPC rejected the original application in October last year which saw rival three local pharmaceutical companies present at the hearing to represent their arguments but only one member of the local community from the Community Council. No other parties of local interest such as the Rosewell Development Trust, local Elected Representatives, local GPs or the Health and Social Care Partnership were invited to give their own arguments or even had their letters of support considered. Instead, all local letters of support were dismissed in favour of the views of rival pharmaceutical companies.
Mr Beattie argues that to current system is flawed and not fit for purpose.
Commenting, Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie said:
“I find it hard to believe that such a Byzantine system is in place. The confrontational process pharmacy applicants are subjected to during these hearings and the interests of rival pharmacies being prioritised over the needs of a local community is just neither fair nor acceptable.
“The current system needs urgently addressed to reflect the current needs of our communities – not the financial needs of large pharmaceutical companies.
“The views of our communities must be heard but in this case, they were completely disregarded. Local elected representatives, including myself, all gave strong letters of support both for the original application and the subsequent appeal the local Health and Social Care Partnership also strongly supported – but neither views were even considered.
“Applicants do not have much standing against their pharmaceutical rivals whose arguments go unquestioned during the process leading to allegedly biased, distorted, and inaccurate information being taken at face value over the real situation communities face.
“It is time that this system is changed. It is time that rival pharmaceutical arguments are put in perspective during hearings. Most importantly, it is time a transparent and fair assessment process is put in place to prioritise our communities’ needs and to stop protecting the vested interests of large companies.
“I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf MSP, requesting a meeting on this matter with hope that real change can be made to this outdated unfair legacy system which appears to pre-date devolution.”
Local MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie promised constituents that Riverside Medical Practice is top of his agenda and arranged a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and social Care, Humza Yousaf in September to discuss the distressing situation too many patients face at Riverside.
Following discussions prompted by Mr Beattie, Scottish Government officials met East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership on Friday 19th November 2021 who remain concerned with the access issues patients face. As an action point, the Partnership agreed to meet with the Practice and collate their own report detailing the issues patients face at Riverside.
Riverside Medical Practice, the East Lothian Health & Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) and NHS Lothian/the Primary Care Contracts Organisation (PCCO) and Lothian LMC met on 9 December 2021. All parties have now agreed to work collaboratively to find a solution to the ongoing issues.
All parties have agreed to meet again at the end of January, after the teams at Riverside and ELHSCP have had further time to better assess current levels of patient demand, and what their capacity is to jointly and consistently meet that demand. The teams will also look to consider whether alternative access models represent a sustainable long-term solution for the Practice.
MSP Colin Beattie is also due to meet again with the Cabinet Secretary Humza Yousaf on the 19th January to receive an update and push again for a solution.
Commenting Colin Beattie MSP said:
“The situation at Riverside is wholly unacceptable. I have continued to correspond with the Cabinet Secretary since September and I am pleased the Scottish Government has taken the first step to meet with the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.
“I still remain deeply concerned with the access issues patients face at Riverside and it remains my upmost priority to find a solution.
“This will not come overnight. However, the situation has gone on for too long and I appreciate patients are getting increasingly worried, frustrated and exasperated. It is a positive step that all parties have agreed to work together but it does not improve the current situation.
“I hope the meeting next week with the Cabinet Secretary can provide us with a substantial update on how the situation at Riverside Medical Practice can be improved and ultimately, resolved.”
UNDER 22's CAN NOW APPLY FOR FREE BUS TRAVEL SCHEME
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has welcomed the opening of the application process for free bus travel for young people, under the age of 22 years old, in Midlothian and East Lothian.
From today, all young people and children aged 5-21 years old in Midlothian and East Lothian can apply for their new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC to access the scheme from 31 January 2022. The scheme, extending free bus travel to everyone aged 22, builds on the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing free bus travel to all under-19’s in Scotland which started in August 2021.
SNP MSP, Colin Beattie, has welcomed the initiative which is set to benefit around 930,000 young people across Scotland and pointed to research from Transport Scotland indicating that 70% of young people would use public transport more frequently if it was free.
The scheme will be delivered in partnership with Transport Scotland, the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office (NECPO), Young Scot, local authorities and bus operators.
Commenting SNP MSP for SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
"I am delighted that applications are now open for young people in Midlothian and East Lothian, under the age of 22, to apply for free bus travel across the country. This is a hugely significant commitment from the Scottish Government that will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across the country.
"Young people in Midlothian and East Lothian are rightly challenging their politicians to take bold actions to create a sustainable future for them and free bus travel is an example of what can be done to rise to this challenge.
"Making bus travel free for under 22's is not only important for helping tackle the climate emergency but it will take pressure off young people's finances and improve their access to education, leisure, and work.
"Whilst we continue to live through the pandemic, we all recognise that essential travel must be prioritised so I want to specifically encourage those children and young people with essential journeys to make to apply now.
“The SNP Scottish Government is once again making an investment in our young people’s future, supporting them to have the best possible start in life and creating the fairer, greener Scotland that we want to build.”