Muiredge Surgery
Muiredge Surgery

THE pioneering new care plan at a Buckhaven GP’s surgery is being eyed with interest around Scotland.

There is rising confidence that the new team approach to patient care, being piloted at Muiredge surgery, will be extended around the country.

Scottish Government representatives have met with Dr Swapan Mukherjee and his colleagues to find out more about the model, based on a highly successful scheme from Alaska.

And a spokeswoman said the Government was “actively engaged” with Muiredge to see what could possibly be shared with practices across Scotland.

Several other Fife surgeries have also enquired about it, while NHS Fife bosses too remain very enthusiastic about its success.

Councillor Andrew Rodger said it had enjoyed a “fantastic” start locally – with the number of people not attending appointments dropping from 10 per cent to zero.

“I think the Scottish Government will roll this out throughout Scotland,” he said. “I hope this could be the answer to solving waiting times and waiting lists – even in hospitals.”

The early success of the integrated team care pilot plan at Buckhaven is boosting hopes that it may prove a model for the rest of Scotland.

Local councillor Andrew Rodger said he “really believed” the Scottish Government would extend it across the country.

Dr Swapan Mukherjee, whose Muiredge practice is the vehicle for the Alaskan-inspired venture, said interest from outside was growing, while there were initial hopes to spread the scheme among other surgeries at Merlin Court, so that more patient-customers could become involved.

The pilot was approaching its halfway stage and enthusiasm continued that it would mirror the success of its predecessor in Alaska.

Efficient communication and team work there had seen a significant drop in visits to hospitals and doctors.

“I personally feel it’s something which is obviously a way forward,” said Dr Mukherjee.

“We are seeing the fruits of our efforts here.”

While some issues still had to be addressed, the practice aimed to continue the scheme with its own resources after the pilot funding was up in December, said Dr Mukherkjee.

The workforce would be reorganised for further efficiency and it was hoped the costs could be neutralised by savings identified during the pilot.

Cllr Rodger believed the Scottish Government would see it as a “win-win situation” for staff and patient-customers, and a valuable ‘spend-to-save’ exercise.

Grateful to everyone involved locally in promoting the scheme, he said: “We have taken this on and I think the rest of Scotland is going to benefit from this system.

“I cannot praise the surgery staff, doctors and the wider community highly enough for sticking by us and through this pilot scheme.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman hinted at the strong interest in the venture.

“We are always interested to hear of any scheme which is improving patients’ experience of the NHS,” she said.

“We are actively engaged with Muiredge practice in Buckhaven to see what lessons we can learn and share with other GP practices across Scotland.”

Dr Brian Montgomery, medical director for NHS Fife, added: “NHS Fife supports the pilot study taking place at Muiredge surgery.

“Early evaluation shows the pilot is popular and is proving successful in meeting the needs of patients and their families.

“The practice is exploring ways of extending the new way of working.

“We look forward to continuing to monitor the impact of this exciting project. “