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Full-time GP receptionist vacancy

GP receptionist is required for 35 hours per week to be worked on a rota basis between the hours of 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. It is anticipated that this post will be based primarily at the Rhinns Medical Centre.  We are looking to recruit a GP receptionist to join our friendly team within the 3 GP practices on Islay.  Excellent communication skills and telephone manner are essential, as well as a willingness and ability to work as part of the team.  Good IT skills are also essential as the majority of GP Reception work is based on paperless systems.  It would be highly desirable  for the successful applicant to  hold a full, clean UK driving licence.   Previous general practice or receptionist experience is desirable, but is not essential as full training will be given for this post.  Informal enquiries about this post can be made to Alan Beresford on 01496 850 210.  Please e-mail your current CV along with covering letter to katy.farrell@nhs.net.  The closing date for this post is noon on Wednesday 13th January 2016.  

Christmas & New Year Opening times

The practices will be closed on 25th & 29th December, and 1st & 4th January.  For emergency medical assistance on public holidays patients should contact NHS24 on 111.  The practices will reopen at 8am on Tuesday 5th January.  

Extended hours - Saturday appointment trial

Registered patients are able to book GP appointments on Saturday mornings at the Bowmore practice in Islay hospital for a trial period. Priority will be given to people who are unable to attend during the working week.  Please contact your surgery for more information.




GP appointments will be available to book for Saturday mornings at the Bowmore practice in Islay hospital commencing in July for a trial period. Priority will be given to people who are unable to attend during the working week.

GPs from the Practice will be piloting the use of an iPad to access information on the Practice IT system when making home visits.  A ‘Rural Fellow’ who will be an additional GP for the island’s integrated Practice has been appointed and will be commencing in September on Islay for a year.

Lorraine Paterson, Locality Manager for Mid Argyll Kintyre and Islay (MAKI), congratulated the Islay Practice on their considerable achievements and practice innovation over recent months.  Some of the ideas and practice systems are to be replicated elsewhere in other parts of Argyll and Bute.



In order to improve patient access to GPs and other healthcare staff the computer systems at each of the three Islay practices are in the process of being upgraded. Improvement work has already begun and it is anticipated that the new system will be completely operational by Friday 24th April. During this period we hope to keep any disruption to an absolute minimum. Emergency appointments will be available daily during the improvement work.

The ordering of repeat medication may be affected next week and patients are kindly requested to reorder repeat prescriptions earlier than required (Rhinns patients by 6.30pm on Monday; Port Ellen patients by 1pm on Wednesday). Patients may continue to order medication at any point next week however medication may take longer than the two working days routinely required.

There will be considerable benefits for both patients and clinicians by upgrading the IT systems. More information about improvements to patient access will be provided in future publications of the Ileach and displayed in your local surgery. Your patience with us during this time will be greatly appreciated.

Dr Donal Murray will be taking up his post on 20th April and Dr Catriona Davis will be joining the team on 25th May.

May public holiday dates: Monday 4th & Monday 25th



GP Appointment

Following the recent interviews for the vacant GP post, Dr Catriona Davis has accepted the offer of appointment.  Dr Davis trained at University College London and has a background in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthesia and Acute Respiratory Medicine and is currently working as a GP in Suffolk.  
Dr Davis will join Drs Pickering, MacTaggart, Jackson, Beastall & Murray at the end of May.   
Locum GPs will continue to work across the three sites and Islay Hospital until Drs Murray and Davis join the team.  Wherever possible regular locum GPs will be used to assist with providing continuity of care for Islay’s patients.  Dr Murray will be re-joining the team on 20th April.

Future developments

Progress continues to be made with the integration of the IT system.  This will allow us more flexibility in where and when we can see patients at sites other than their 'home' practice.  Future publications of the Ileach will provide further information on when this new system is up and running.

Patient access audit

All three GP surgeries have been undertaking a comprehensive audit of patient access since November.  This is one part of the contract with NHS Highland and information from the audit will be used to inform improvements to the number and type of appointments offered at each site on a weekly basis.  Information from the audit will be displayed in each surgery by the end of March.

Islay Hospital Ward and A&E arrangements

The system of one GP providing daily morning cover for hospital in-patients and the A&E department has significantly reduced disruptions to morning clinics at each GP surgery. 

The Rhinns Medical Centre:

NHS Highland has allocated funding to improve the dispensary at the Rhinns Medical Centre.  It is hoped that the new dispensary will be completed by end of March 2015.  Given the dispensary will be moved to another location within the building it is not anticipated there will be a significant impact on dispensing of medications.  Any disruption to service will be communicated to patients in future publications of the Ileach.

Following the completion of our patient access audit, we have identified times of the day when there is little demand for appointments or face to face contact with staff.  Before 9am and after 5pm were found to be the quietest times of the day and we plan to revert to previous opening times for a 3 month trial period in order to increase the number of staff in the building at busier times.  The telephones will continue to be answered from 8am and until 6pm each day should you require assistance in an emergency.

To ensure that we continue to offer a flexible appointment system to all patients, it is proposed to offer bookable appointments each Monday evening – currently this service is offered on a monthly basis - and a GP will be available for consultations on Friday afternoons.  Please be assured that there will be no change in the total number of hours of GP and nurse time at the Rhinns Medical Centre.  The number of bookable GP appointments will remain the same with the GP starting consulting from 9am.

It is proposed that the change to surgery opening times will come into effect on Monday 16th March and be implemented on a trial basis for three months.  All service users will have the opportunity to provide feedback during the trial period in different ways.  Alan Beresford will be available to meet with patients at 5.00pm on Tuesday 3rd March at the Rhinns Medical Centre to address any queries and provide further information about the proposed changes to surgery opening times.  Should any patient, or their carer, have any queries or concerns regarding changes to the opening hours of the practice and are unable to come to the surgery on the 3rd of March,  they are encouraged to contact alan.beresford@nhs.net


GP recruitment – This is ongoing with confirmed interviews planned to be held by the end of the first week in February.  It is anticipated that an appointment will be made by Friday 6th February with the new GP joining Drs Pickering, MacTaggart, Jackson and Murray later this year.


There have been a number of expressions of interest in the 2 vacant GP posts and we remain hopeful that these will be filled in the near future.  Unfortunately, the notice period which GPs often have to work means that it may be several months before any new doctors can start on Islay.  In the meantime we are continuing to rely on a pool of locums to support the medical provision on Islay.  Dr Lewis MacKinnon will be joining the GP team for a three month fixed-term contract from the start of December and we are delighted to confirm that Dr Abby Beastall is joining the team for 2 half days a week in January.  Dr David Stevenson and Dr Doerte Pfuetzner will continue to provide regular locum cover.

Computer systems for the three GP practices are in the process of being upgraded to allow closer working (this will provide considerable benefits to both patients and clinicians).  The costs of this scheme are being split equally between the GP surgeries and the Health Board.  We are also working closely with staff and patients in all 3 surgeries to ensure shared protocols and working practices which we hope will make the healthcare team more efficient and allow us to offer a better service to patients in the long term.  There will undoubtedly be some teething problems as we all adapt to new ways of working but we hope that you will bear with us.  We are always grateful to receive feedback on things which could be done better - this can be given by speaking to a member of staff or e-mailing alan.beresford@nhs.net.