NHS Fife and the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership are providing an update on some recent developments affecting services at Valleyfield Medical Practice. Patients at the Practice will also receive a letter in the coming days to provide a fuller update.
Valleyfield Medical Practice continues to actively recruit replacement GP’s following the departure of a number of GPs in recent times. Across the UK, there is a very significant shortage of General Practitioners, meaning there are currently far more vacancies than available GPs to fill these positions. This shortage is affecting the whole of the UK, including a number of other medical practices in Fife.
To help address this shortage in the short term, a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, mental health nurses and pharmacists are supporting the remaining GP, advanced nurse practitioner and locum medical staff. These clinicians are highly trained, experienced healthcare professionals who will provide patients with a very high standard of care, often without the need to see or speak to a GP.
We also want to ensure we are working alongside the local people impacted by the challenges at Valleyfield Medical Practice, and met with members of High Valleyfield, Low Valleyfield, Culross and Torryburn, and Newmills Community Councils earlier this week. It was acknowledged by all that finding a immediate resolution to the GP recruitment issues is unlikely, however, reassurance was offered that we remained committed to identifying suitable candidates that could be appointed to take up permanent GP roles in the practice. This search is not limited just to Scotland, with the net being cast beyond the country’s borders to find suitably qualified and experienced medical staff.
A series of additional measures are also being taken to improve the local services available to people in Valleyfield, including:
- Improved systems within the Practice to help increase capacity in the short term.
- Active recruitment to expand the multi-disciplinary team supporting the practice.
- Further discussions with neighbouring practices to identify any enhanced support that can be offered.
We also acknowledge that there have been significant issues for patients calling the Practice by phone. The phone system was previously upgraded, and the number of phone lines increased to provide greater capacity to respond to patient phone calls. We have agreed to look again at the telephone system with a view to seeing if any other changes can be made to help improve access to the Practice.
The staff at Valleyfield Medical Practice are working incredibly hard to provide patients with the best standard of service they possibly can, in extremely difficult circumstances. While we appreciate the understandable frustrations felt by patients, however, please remember that the practice staff are doing everything in their power to help in any way they can. Please treat the staff with the courtesy they deserve.