Postcode lottery for GP’s patients

Linlithgow Health Centre
Linlithgow Health Centre

Anger has fuelled concerns that patients of a retiring GP will be forced into registering outwith Linlithgow because of their postcode.

The Journal and Gazette reported in its Linlithgow front page story last week that the Linlithgow Family Practice operated by Dr Cochran was to close from April 1.

We also reported that the health board claimed the ‘majority’ of patients would be transferred to Linlithgow Group Medical Practice.

It was this statement which generated a furore as patient after patient said that they were not being transferred and had been told they would have to register elsewhere.

Lynn Chambers, practice manager for Linlithgow Group Medical Practice, said: “It is true that a number of patients who were previously registered with Dr Cochran will be unable to register with ourselves.

“This is due to the fact that they reside outwith our catchment area. Our patients all live within Linlithgow, Linlithgow Bridge, Philpstoun and Threemiletown.

“We do not take on patients who live in Blackness, Bo’ness, Whitecross or Torphichen, which are covered by a different health board area.

“The health board should have made this very clear to those patients affected.

“Unfortunately, Dr Cochran’s practice allowed registration from outwith the immediate area.”

Lynn added: “Although there is a lot of concern among patients, we appreciate that and have taken steps to try to ensure the handover is as seamless as possible.

“We have now recruited two GPs, one of whom started in January and the second commences in April.

“We have also taken on extra rooms in the building in order that we can offer extra services to our patients, as well as maintaining the high levels of customer service which we are proud of.”

Any patients who are unhappy with the current circumstances are advised to contact the health board in the first instance in order to try to address the problem.