Important - Staffing Update: We are currently working with reduced staffing across all staff groups. However we very pleased to assure you that we have three excellent GP's who are helping ensure we continue to deliver safe and effective care for our community.
In October of 2018 we went through a transformation of the Practice. Prior to this date Dr Miller had left the Practice and Dr McDowell retired after many years of loyal service to the Practice and the wider community. He will be sadly missed, not only by us here at the Medical Practice, but also the wider medical community. We wish him well in his retirement. There has also been a change in Practice Management; Marion Mitchell had served Aberlour Medical Practice faithfully for many years and had also taken the decision for retirement. Marion was a stalwart within the Practice and will also be sadly missed – but we wish her well with her retirement.
We lost three of our administration team, Val, Astrid, and Isobel and wish them well for their respective future ventures. We have, however appointed new staff including: a new GP, Dr Cathryn Robertson, the Practice Manager, Keith Anderson MBE, Debbie Morrice for Clinical Administration, and our Healthcare Assistants, Dianne, Suzie, and Louise. And we’re recruiting more administrative staff!
We must extend a huge vote of thanks to Dr Annabel Ross who was left in the unenviable position of running the Practice and the associated hospital and care home responsibilities – as a single GP. This has not been an easy time – but Dr Ross’s vision for Aberlour Medical Practice will see us at the forefront of today’s modern approach to patient care. Dr Ross was instrumental in the change for Chronic Disease Management and was one of two practices to adopt the hugely successful House of Care initiative in July of 2018.
Dr Robertson has recently returned with her family to the area from New Zealand where she gained a huge amount of experience working with a similar community. She is a very welcome addition to the team and has made a huge impact on our ability to manage the patient demand. We are hopeful that as time passes that Dr Robertson will be able to commit more time to the Practice.
We are hugely blessed with both Karen Braithwaite and Donna Nash – Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician respectively; and we are one of very few Practices to have this effect. They are working through the medication reviews and repeat prescriptions in order to provide a better and more sustainable solution. Many of you will know that we have had to change our Repeat Prescriptions process – which had become unsustainable with our staffing levels. The new system will take time to bed in, and it is consistent with many of the Practices within Moray; but it will be to the benefit of our patients. The Medication Reviews are being reviewed on a regular basis and many patients are moving to the Chronic Medication Service (CMS) which is one prescription that lasts for a year! See our Web page for details.
Keith joined the Practice during the summer of 2018 with a plan of transition for Marion’s retirement at the end of September 18. This was unexpectedly brought forward because of Marion’s unfortunate accident which resulted in her being off for some time prior to her retirement. Keith also manages Fochabers Medical Practice and has done so since July 2017. Keith is also a First Aid instructor and can provide First Aid at Work, Emergency First Aid, Defibrillator Training, CPR, Oxygen Management, and Anaphylaxis training and certification.
Our three Healthcare Assistants continue to provide a positive impact on managing our patient demand. Newly qualified and eager to contribute, they make a difference on a daily basis. You will also hear and see Suzie and Dianne more because they are being dual trained in the administrative role.
We welcomed Debbie Morris into the team towards the end of 2018 and she has been on a steep learning curve! An exceptionally talented person who had just completed a two-year HNC in office administration with Moray College UHI. Debbie arrived as an addition to the team; but was thrust into the forefront of our operation as some of our administrative team were leaving. We are actively recruiting more Clinical Administrators – and this will take a little time to get the right people and then get them appropriately trained. We acknowledge that we have had to deal with staff shortages through retirement or sickness, but they have coped admirably and are learning much about our patient population.
We were selected, as one of two medical practices, as early adopters of the initiative in Grampian. The House of Care initiative was started in Northumbria and has been adopted within the central belt of Scotland as an outstanding way of managing Chronic Diseases. We are entering into Month 10 now and so almost all of our patients on the Chronic Disease management programme will have been sent invitation letters and have had review appointments. In essence we try to have an information-gathering appointment, send you a detailed report of your results, and allow time for you to digest the information before getting you to come in for a review appointment in order to discuss the results and what they mean to you.
We have made significant improvements with the way we communicate with our patients. The SMS reminder system and messaging service is paying dividends; and we are currently getting as many patients as we can onto Patient-Services so that there is more transparency with how we administrate the operation. Patient-Services is a hugely successful system whereby patients can order their Repeat Prescriptions online; but they can also book medical appointments and in the future will be able to see parts of their medical records.
Our Web Page provides much information about how the Practice Operates; and we now have a Facebook page which can be followed – this provides a more instant update on what is going on within the Practice. We are including videos about the House of Care and Patient-Services on the Facebook page.
Many of you will notice that we have been upgrading the Practice as a whole. There has been some disruption, which will continue until the end of April, but it is with a view to improving the Practice as a whole. We have a completely refurbished treatment Room, the waiting room will have an additional room built in to store our patients’ medical records; which in turn will free up space for our administrative and clinical hub to develop. We have had our consulting rooms re-floored and will shortly be re-flooring the waiting room area – as well as putting up a large screen for patient information. Subsequent to that we will be updating the administrative area and back offices.
This has been a particularly difficult time with the simultaneous effect of staff retirements or moving on, new staff, moving from three GPs to one and then back to two, and the premises upgrade. A lack of administrative staff due to sickness and staff leaving have provided challenges that we are overcoming. We are going to provide a service which will be the envy of others and we are taking the time to set the conditions and standards for success.