Positive reaction to surgery project

Councillor Andrew Rodger
Councillor Andrew Rodger

BUCKHAVEN’S first-for-Fife pilot bid to boost primary health care provision has had a confident welcome.

Health campaigner and local councillor Andrew Rodger said he had faith in the leadership of the project, starting soon at one of Muiredge Surgery’s practices.

An integrated team approach to patient treatment is at the heart of the six-month scheme, headed by Dr Swapan Mukherjee – while individual input from patients themselves is also central.

A meeting to explain it all has been arranged for 6pm on June 14 at Buckhaven Community Centre.

It’s hoped the venture will tackle problems – not unique to Levenmouth – faced by doctors, staff and patients in the delivery of primary health care.

Cllr Rodger, Fife Council’s representative on the NHS Fife Board, said a strong holistic approach was being taken, with scope for much learning and improvement in team work.

“I want people to have good health care, good experiences with it, and good experiences with social care,” he added.

“Doctors are well thought of in this area – it’s the appointment system that lets them down.”

Dr Mukherjee was an ideal front man, added Cllr Rodger, as he was “an excellent GP and very highly thought of”.

The scheme would hopefully be cost-effective too, by saving people journeys and saving doctors time.

The approach is modelled on an Alaskan system where patients are regarded as ‘customer owners’ and their health care is supplied by integrated teams, including GPs, nurses and administration staff, with access to other health professionals.

Cases are managed by building relationships between patients and health care providers, with patients being fully involved in their own health and wellbeing.

The term ‘patients’ put a focus on illness, said Dr Mukherjee, but ‘customers’ referred to users of a service.

Cllr Rodger said other agencies could assist, if people’s medical conditions were being triggered by money, housing, employment, or similar worries.

At Merlin Court, it’s hoped to address all the patient/customer health issues at one appointment, with same-day contact offered where possible.