A medical centre is using the radio to drown out private consultations

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A MEDICAL centre has been slammed after forcing patients to turn up the radio to avoid overhearing private consultations.

The small Ratho Health Centre in Midlothian is now considering opening a new premises after patients complained about the awkward noise situation.

The surgery has been described as being more like a flat in size rather than a doctors surgery.

Councillor Bill Henderson feels the new proposal is a bad idea

 

One proposed solution to the size issue has been to create a “satellite surgery” in a community building at Ratho Station.

But this idea has been greatly criticised by residents with only 1 household out of 170 responding positively.

NHS Lothian has now been urged to rethink the proposal.

Gordon Macdonald, Edinburgh Pentlands MSP, said: “The health centre that exists is about the size of a family flat and is getting too small. It’s not really fit for purpose.

“There have been complaints from residents as they have to put the radio on in the surgery’s reception so that patients can’t be overheard.

“But what residents are saying is that they do not want to travel to see the doctor- they would prefer an enhanced service within Ratho itself.”

Macdonald continued: “Now the care home’s not happening we are keen to secure some kind of community benefit from the Cala estate being built. The village supported the Cala development on the basis that there was going to be some kind of community benefit.”

Only one per cent of the households that responded to the Ratho and District Community Council Survey supported the idea.

Another 15 per cent of people backed an upgrade of the existing Baird Road premises with 19 per cent saying they would support the development of a new facility somewhere else in Ratho.

However, two thirds said they would like to see a new surgery built as part of a new housing development.

Previously they were promised a care home but the plans failed to materialise.

100 new properties are being built by Cala Homes with intensions of selling land on the other site for another company to build a 84-bed care home.

However the site did not sell earlier this year with the firm now planning to build 14 new luxury homes instead.

Dr Jean Turner, of the Scottish Patients Association said: “I think, speaking from experience, it was never big enough.

“All the work that needs to be done, including extra work that hospitals used to do requires more space. Nurses need to treat patients and doctors need room to consult.

“As long as there is easier access and better facilities in the new place, then it could be a good thing.”

She added: “The surgery will however have to get permission to have a satellite surgery. They also risk becoming vulnerable because of possible rent costs.”

Bill Henderson, a local councillor, said: “The results show no appetite for a satellite health centre and the people of Ratho deserve a better deal.

“Ratho Station is down a bad, bendy road and it’s not a satisfactory option. It’s about time that the people got something back for the housing development. They feel let down.”

Cala homes have offered the NHS a premises for the development of a new surgery within the affordable housing part of their site.

There is no guarantee that NHS Lothian will be able to afford the offer as its capital budget is already stretched this year.

Colin Briggs, general manager of Edinburgh Community Health Community Health Partnership for NHS Lothian, said: “We are currently looking at various options which will enable us to expand the capacity of the GP surgery in Ratho and a project group, with membership including the GP and practice staff, has been set up to take this forward.”

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