Health Minister Jeane Freeman will meet NHS Tayside officials next week to discuss the delivery of primary care services in Bridge of Earn, after being pressed on the matter this week by Murdo Fraser MSP at the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region for the Scottish Conservatives, was told that Ms Freeman would be meeting the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside, Grant Archibald, next week when she will discuss concerns raised by Mr Fraser’s colleague, Liz Smith, regarding the lack of clarity over a long-standing commitment to invest £1 million in the Bridge of Earn practice and the apparent lack of a plan from NHS Tayside for how services will be developed and delivered in the future.
Commenting, Mr Fraser said: “I asked the Health Minister if she could give Parliament an undertaking that the issue of the delivery of primary care services in Bridge of Earn will be a priority when she meets NHS Tayside officials. I also asked her if she could provide a date when she will be able to report on the outcome of that meeting.
“When pressed on the matter, the Health Minister told me she will be meeting the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside next week and will then report on these discussions to Parliament.
“It’s vital that we get clarity on the delivery of primary care services to Bridge of Earn. The Health Minster has promised she will provide answers on a future plan for Bridge of Earn.”
Enclosed transcript of the matter discussed today during portfolio questions at the Scottish Parliament:
Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con): To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with NHS Tayside regarding the delivery of primary care services across the area.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Jeane Freeman): Senior officials and the chief executive of NHS Scotland are in regular contact with NHS Tayside on a range of primary care issues. I will meet the chief executive of NHS Tayside and the chief officer of the health and social care partnership on 25 September to discuss the future delivery of primary care services in the area.
Murdo Fraser: The cabinet secretary recently met my colleague Liz Smith to talk about the sudden closure of the Bridge of Earn general practice surgery, which has caused much anxiety to local people. She will know that one of the concerns in the local community is about the lack of a clear plan for the future delivery of primary care in the area.
Can she give us an undertaking today that raising the matter will be a priority when she meets NHS Tayside, and can she tell us when she will be able to report back to Parliament on the outcome of that meeting?
Jeane Freeman: I met the member’s colleague Ms Smith and had a productive discussion in which I accepted her concerns about communication and engagement with the local community, the lack of clarity over a long-standing commitment to invest £1 million of capital in the Bridge of Earn practice and the apparent lack of a plan from the NHS board or social care partnerships for how services will be developed and delivered in the future. Those issues are part of the discussions that my officials are having with officials at NHS Tayside, which I will continue when I meet the chief executive next week. Following that, as soon as I am clear about the future plan—it is important that there is one—I will make sure that not only Murdo Fraser but Liz Smith and other interested colleagues are advised of that.