PRESS & JOURNAL – Tarves surgery to close in latest twist of dispensing saga

Tarves surgery to close in latest twist of dispensing saga

Tarves doctor's surgery

An Aberdeenshire doctor’s surgery is to close this month, just two months after campaigners lost their battle over dispensing services.

Haddo Medical Group will close its satellite surgery in Tarves on March 31, and the Methlick practice will go part-time. Nobody from the group’s main surgery in Pitmedden was available to comment yesterday.

The news is the latest twist in a long-running row over dispensing services and comes just months after NHS Grampian ruled there would be a shake-up.

Previously, patients in Pitmedden and Methlick were able to get their medication directly from their doctor, rather than travel to Tarves Pharmacy. But the owner of the pharmacy took NHS Grampian to the Court of Session, who ruled the arrangement was unlawful – forcing the health board to rule that only those with an “acute” need, who had no access to a car on the day of their appointment, would be able to get their prescription direct from their surgery.

The decision was a huge blow to campaigners, who raised fears as early as 2009 when the pharmacy plans first emerged that a change to dispensing services would have an impact on the financial viability of the smaller surgeries in Methlick and Tarves.

And last night, there was dismay that their predictions appeared to be coming true.

A spokesman for Tarves Community Council said: “I personally am very disappointed, coming from living in Aberdeen out to what was considered a superb health service given by the Haddo Medical Group.

“It will effect the Tarves village and Pitmedden village when they finally announce when they will finish the dispensing services.”

Kathy Kennedy, secretary of Methlick Community Council, said NHS Grampian’s ruling in January had been “untenable”.

She said the village was behind the practice, adding: “Haddo Medical Group have to run their business as they see fit, obviously want to maintain as good a service as can and this how they feel they can do this. They don’t know how many drugs to keep or who is going to come in and whether they will have a car or not.

“We were very worried Methlick surgery would close completely, at least we can thank them for keeping it open in the mornings.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “We are aware of the decision of Haddo Medical Group. Decisions about how, where and when services are delivered are a matter for the practice to determine.”