Stonehaven GPs to respond to appointment complaints

Stonehaven Medical Group has introduced the change for same-day appointments
Stonehaven Medical Group has introduced the change for same-day appointments

A public meeting will be tonight (Thursday) to discuss changes in the way patients book appointments at Stonehaven Medical Group.

The practice has introduced a new system, eConsult, in which residents have to submit a request for a same-day consultation via the surgery’s website.

But the move has been criticised by some patients and a petition was handed into the group complaining about the online service.

Stonehaven and District Community Council was approached by the GPs about hosting a public meeting to explain the new system.

It will be held in the town hall tonight at 7.30pm.

Community council chairman Raymond Christie said: “After the doctors received the petition, they decided to hold a public meeting which the community council agreed to facilitate.

“The council have not discussed the merits or otherwise of the system.”

Local Councillor Sarah Dickinson has received complaints from residents about the change.

She said: “I plan to attend and will be listening carefully to what the representatives of the Stonehaven Medical Centre have to say given the number of representations I have had from residents expressing serious concerns about the new system.

“I will share that feedback, as appropriate, at the meeting.”

She added: “It would be easy, but wrong, to assume that this is just a case of people being resistant to change.

“There are people having genuine difficulty with the system and it is not easy to see ahead of the meeting how the many issues that people are raising can be satisfactorily and fully addressed.

“I very much hope that the Stonehaven Medical Centre will take on board the feedback they receive.”

The Leader has contacted the practice for comment.

On its website, the group says any requests for a “same day” appointment will need to be submitted through eConsult and will be guarantee a response within two hours to any online consultation submitted before noon.

The website adds that this system will not apply to any request for future appointments, home visits or urgent/emergency medical concerns – these will be still be dealt with by its administration team and duty doctor and can still be made by calling the surgery.