South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed progress in providing more certainty in the provision of General Practitioner (GP) services in Stranraer, after NHS Dumfries and Galloway announced that two surgeries would return to be being managed by GPs.

But the MSP has warned that the recent failure of the return to a GP managed service for patients in Lockerbie and Moffat shows that there is no guarantee of success by moving away from a health board directly run service.

Loch Ree Practice and Lochnaw Practice in the town have been operating in recent years under the direct management of the Health Board. However, the contract for provision of services at these practices has now been formally accepted by Drs Goodare and Griffen of Glenluce Practice.

The contract for provision of services for Lochnaw Practice will transfer with effect from 1 January 2023, while Loch Ree Practice is planned for 1 March 2023.

Patients are now being offered the opportunity to meet with the new service providers at a meeting taking place at the Millennium Centre in Stranraer on Tuesday 24 January at 6.30 pm.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The NHS prefer a model of individual GP practices, which are basically private businesses, running services for the health service. I personally see nothing wrong with the NHS actually employing doctors direct and running the services themselves, but this is only used by health boards when they can’t get a GP practice to run a service.

“The move back to a GP practice model for Stranraer will hopefully be progress and provide some certainty in the long-term as this will have been a worrying time for patients.

“However, we saw the opposite happen when GP services in Lockerbie and Moffat moved back to this model so only time will tell. It doesn’t matter what model you have, there is still a huge issue recruiting enough GPs to provide services. I hope we will see enough doctors and other health care staff to meet the demand there will be for services in Stranraer and patients will get the care they need”.

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