No surgery for five more years

Bellshill Community Council members John Devlin, left, and Joe Gorman criticised the John Street service.
Bellshill Community Council members John Devlin, left, and Joe Gorman criticised the John Street service.

Doctors who moved into a community clinic after a fire say it will be at least five years before they can consider building a new surgery.

The John Street practice wasn’t covered fully by insurance at the time of the blaze and has now been based in Bellshill Community Health Clinic for seven years.

The move led to criticism as NHS Lanarkshire was unable to offer all the services planned for the clinic in order to accommodate the doctors.

The timescale for building a replacement surgery was revealed after fresh criticism from Bellshill Community Council members John Devlin and Joe Gorman who claim a shortage of doctors at the practice has meant patients being referred to hospital in recent weeks.

Responding to that, the practice said: “Any patient who considers their problem to be of an urgent nature will be assessed by the on-call doctor and seen on the day if appropriate. We would direct patients to accident and emergency only if their problem was not one that could be dealt with in a primary care setting.”

On the practice remaining within the clinic, it added: “The doctors have always expressed a desire to return to John Street and we continue to pay ground rent to North Lanarkshire Council for the John Street site.

“We have had detailed plans and finance prepared since 2013.

We were informed last year by NHS Lanarkshire that they are unable to fund any notional rent reimbursement that would be payable to us once we occupy our own building again.

“Consequently we do not have their consent to develop the John Street site. They plan to review this decision in five years time.

“Our use of one corner of the property in the clinic ensures we are able to provide GP services to approximately 8,000 local residents.”