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Yetholm Branch Surgery Closure

In 2008 there was a public consultation about the use of the branch surgery in the village of Yetholm. The outcome of that consultation allowed the surgery to continue to operate but to be kept under review.  The primary reason for continuing to review its function has been the falling demand for appointments at the branch surgery compared to the main premises in Kelso

In the six month period after the consultation process (1st July to 31st December 2008) 405 patients were seen at the branch surgery. During the same period in 2018 (1st July to 31st December) a total of 28 patients were seen. The nature of the branch surgery means that we cannot offer as good a patient service there as we can at the main surgery in Kelso. Patients also have to travel to Kelso for prescriptions and all other Health Board Services such as podiatry and physiotherapy

Patients are clearly voting with their feet

The Practice gave notice to Borders Health Board in January of this year of the intention to stop working from the branch surgery. We were asked to perform a further six month evaluation of appointment usage. In the six months that followed only 18 patients were seen at the branch surgery i.e. 3 patients a month

This is neither sustainable nor equitable when the demand for GP time is so great in the main premises at Kelso. The practice list size continues to grow, sitting just under 12000 patients. The last Census data highlighted a decrease in the population of Yetholm and a continued increase in the population of Kelso

Lone Working has also been raised as a concern and risk to Health Professionals. Indeed we have not sent any female partners to the branch surgery in recent years as result of specific patient concerns

Significant pressure also comes with the current state of General Practice and difficulties with GP retention and recruitment. The practice has had to function with 2 partner vacancies over the last few years and develop new ways of delivering good Primary Care services to the whole practice list. We have used Advanced Nurse Practitioners to provide more on the day appointments and provide more rapid Home Visits when necessary

Borders Health Board have therefore acknowledged our extended review period and agreed to our stopping providing General Medical Services out of the branch surgery in Yetholm

When originally built, the building had the flexibility in its design for future conversion into wheelchair accessible living accommodation. Such accommodation is much needed in the Borders area and we will explore our options with the local Housing Association. The branch surgery building sits within an established housing scheme and community and is ideally suited to giving someone or a family a new home


Information sharing with clinical colleagues

NHS Borders are now using software that can be linked to a patient's medical GP notes.  This has the benefit of allowing the sharing of information between a patient's GP and certain NHS Borders clinical departments.  The aim is to improve patients' experience of healthcare by keeping all parties involved aware of current issues.  The clinical departments currently sharing information via access to GP records are: Mental Health; Child Health; Community Health Services.  Only staff involved in someone's care will have access to records, and information will only be shared if it is relevant to someone's care.  If you have any queries or concerns regarding this, please make an appointment with your GP to discuss things further.  You can of course request that your information is not shared

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