9th November 2021

 

Change to Service Provision from January 2022

As Executive Partner at the Ullapool Medical Practice I want to let patients know that we at the Medical Practice have taken the decision to change our Out of Hours scheme from the end of January next year.

 

At present you will know that we provide a GP On-Call service  on weeknights between 6pm and 8am while NHS Highland take over the service at weekends from 6pm on Fridays, giving medical advice over the phone and in-person through a combination of Nurse Practitioners, Locum GPs, First Responders and of course our fantastic, locally based Ambulance Service.

 

Like many other Medical Practices across Scotland we are having severe difficulties in recruiting staff. The Highland Local Medical Committee Medical Director and BMA council member for North of Scotland Dr Iain Kennedy reported that there are currently 88 GP vacancies in Highland alone. We are also dealing with different ways of working, continuing to deal with Covid and so we are faced with either handing over our Out of Hours duties to NHS Highland, allowing us to continue giving a really professional daytime service to patients - or we remain working as we are but facing the very real possibility that our Practice would have to be wound up as we become unable to cope with both daytime duties, while also covering weeknights.

 

All of our staff in the Practice are already hard-pressed dealing with the knock-on effects of Covid – and although we have tried really hard to recruit more GPs, that has proved fruitless. Unfortunately this is unlikely to change in the short or medium term, and is likely to become yet more difficult as GPs become ever-more sought after throughout the country, particularly in areas where Out of Hours duties are part of the GP contracts.

 

Dr Iain Kennedy also recently reported that the Scottish Ambulance Service is aiming to recruit 22 GPs which is great news for our region – but also has the downside of making it even more difficult for medical practices to recruit when the GP Pool is already quite small. We are of course not alone in this dilemma, within the last year other Medical Practices have handed back Out of Hours to NHS Highland. 

 

Taking all of this into account, we will be handing over our Out of Hours Service to NHS Highland from January 28th next year.

 

When patients call for advice Out of Hours, we want them to be sure that they have a service they trust, with the staff dealing with them not over-fatigued, stressed through working long hours and with an unhealthy work-life balance.  We are confident that this is what they will get under NHS Highland.

 

I’ve been at our Practice in Ullapool now since 2005 and I take a real pride in providing a medical service that’s as professional and as valued as any other, as do all my Partners and staff. Most of us in the Highlands choose to live and work here because we appreciate the natural beauty and the less frenzied lifestyle. But living in the Highlands also has its challenges. Most of you will be aware that we are not alone in having issues attracting and retaining staff.

 

Over the next month or two we will be discussing with NHS Highland how best to continue a service that retains the confidence and trust of all our patients. We the Partners and Kirsty Copland our Practice Manager will of course be happy to discuss any issues or concerns that patients have as we realise any change to health provision can be challenging for both patients and medical staff.

 

We are members of this community too and we want exactly the same standards of health care as all of you do.

We thank you for your understanding and support. 

Dr Erica Alexander on behalf of

Dr Sabine Schultz

Dr Katrina Geissel

For our most recent updates regarding Covid-19, seasonal flu vaccines or other items please see the "latest news" tab on the left which will be kept up to date with all the relevant information.

COVID-19 BOOSTER VACCINE ANNOUNCEMENT

21/10/2021

We will be undertaking the Covid-19 booster vaccine programme and aim to begin in November.  Our November clinics are Tuesday 9th Nov, Thursday 18th and Thursday 25th November. We will also have clinics on 2nd and 16th December.
There MUST be a gap of 24 weeks between your 2nd vaccine dose and this booster dose. It is only the Pfizer vaccine we have, this has been authorised for use as a booster even if you had an Astra Zeneca vaccine as dose 1 and 2. There is a requirement to wait for 15 min following your vaccination.
IF YOU HAD YOUR 2ND VACCINE BEFORE 25TH MAY PLEASE CALL US TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR A BOOSTER VACCINE.
** Please note we will be unable to vaccinate you and a dose may go to waste if you book an appointment before 24 weeks have elapsed. **
We have begun to text and write to all eligible patients and this will continue over the coming weeks but if you KNOW the date of your 2nd vaccine there is no need to wait for us to contact you first. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT US TO ASK FOR THE DATE OF YOUR 2ND VACCINE IF YOU DO NOT KNOW IT, PLEASE WAIT FOR THE TEXT OR LETTER.

Has your Hospital treatment been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Click the link for information to support you whilst waiting for an outpatient appointment, diagnostic test, operation, or to see a specialist at hospital.


23/07/2021 Update re Achiltibuie and Dundonnell branch clinics.
I am pleased to say that given the reduction in Covid-19 cases locally we will be able to go ahead with our plans for branch surgeries next week.
Please see below for further details and how to book 😊
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Last month we discussed within the Practice the reintroduction of branch clinics and agreed that we could draw up a phased return contingent on the Highland area remaining in Tier 1 with local Covid infection rates remaining low.
We understand the impact of the branch clinic service being paused and that for some it has caused more issues than for others – we are very keen to return to a sustainable and appropriate service model that will meet the needs of all our patients. Having said that, the Practice is still under-resourced to the tune of more than 1 full time GP and our community/ country/world remains in a pandemic and this will limit what we can offer and the frequency of branch clinics.
As a starting point we have scheduled a branch clinic for both Dundonnell and Achiltibuie at the end of July, August and September. These branch clinics will be face to face, but only following a telephone call with a clinician prior to the appointment. If you feel that you require to be seen face to face please call the Health Centre on 01854 612015 to arrange a telephone appointment in the first instance.
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Update re Achiltibuie and Dundonnell branch clinics.

Unfortunately, since the plans detailed below were made there have been 15 Covid positive cases in our community last week, with that figure almost doubling this week.  This means many households are now self-isolating and this has then had an impact on the wider community and local businesses.  From a Practice perspective we have postponed some routine appointments or changed them to a phone-call where appropriate.   

In light of the ongoing changes locally, we may need to postpone the July branch surgery, but we will not make this decision in haste, we will leave it until the week before; so w/c 19th July.  If we deem it safe and appropriate, then we will hold the branch clinics as planned.    

I think unfortunately this sudden change locally demonstrates the unpredictability of the Covid situation and although we have been incredibly lucky locally up until now, we can't become complacent.

08/07/2021 Branch surgery update

Last month we discussed within the Practice the reintroduction of branch clinics and agreed that we could draw up a phased return contingent on the Highland area remaining in Tier 1 with local Covid infection rates remaining low. 

 We understand the impact of the branch clinic service being paused and that for some it has caused more issues than for others – we are very keen to return to a sustainable and appropriate service model that will meet the needs of all our patients.  Having said that, the Practice is still under-resourced to the tune of more than 1 full time GP and our community/ country/world remains in a pandemic and this will limit what we can offer and the frequency of branch clinics.

 As a starting point we have scheduled a branch clinic for both Dundonnell and Achiltibuie at the end of July, August and September.  These branch clinics will be face to face, but only following a telephone call with a clinician prior to the appointment.  If you feel that you require to be seen face to face please call the Health Centre to arrange a telephone appointment in the first instance.

Monday 28th June 2021
There have been several positive cases of Covid-19 identified within our Practice area. If you have been asked to have a PCR test then the details for the Ullapool Fire Station are below.
Alternatively you can book an appointment via NHS Inform for Dingwall or Inverness or order a postal test using this link https://www.nhsinform.scot/.../coronavirus-covid-19-testing
Due to the number of cases locally we have taken the decision to revert back to telephone appointments in the first instance but please note that we will always see you face to face if it is clinically appropriate. We must ask that you do not attend the Health Centre if you show any symptoms of Covid-19 or if you or a member of your household has been asked to self isolate.
Please contact us by phone on 01854 612015 if you any concerns or queries.

Welcome to Ullapool Medical Centre Online

The Health Centre is on North Road, on the lower floor of Mo Dhachaidh Nursing Home. There is a car park.  There are automatic front doors, but if you are disabled and feel that you will require assistance, please let us know that you are coming and a member of staff will be available to help you.  The practice covers the area shown on this map, from the Ross-shire county boundary to the north, Loch Droma to the east and Dundonnell to the south.


Repeat Prescriptions for Registered Patients

Are you registered with us and need to re-order your medication? Visit our prescriptions page and complete the online form. Find out more


From today, Thursday 27th May 2021 you will be able to enter Ullapool Health Centre as far our new reception window on your right hand side. You should be able to see and hear us better and we will be able to see and hear you better 😊
Nothing else has changed; you still need to wear a mask to enter the building, we will still ask you to wait in your car or stand outside to wait for your appointment. If this isn't possible or appropriate then we will escort you into the waiting room.
Please do not enter the building AT ALL if you have any symptoms of Covid-19; a new continuous cough, a fever or have lost your sense of taste or smell. If you have any of these symptoms please return to your car/your home and call NHS24 on 111 for further advice.
Thanks everyone

Coronavirus Vaccine

Click here to go to the NHS Inform website which contains the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine situation.  We are awaiting further instruction from NHS Highland on what will be expected of us and will let you all know as soon as we can.

The way we access urgent care has changed due to coronavirus

  • If you think you need A&E, but it’s not life-threatening, you can now call NHS 24 on 111, day or night. 
  • Or you can still contact your GP as normal, during the day.
  • If it’s an emergency, you should continue to call 999 or go to your local A&E

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