Group filming effects of Tarves surgery closure

CAMPAIGNERS for the restoration of Tarves’ GP surgery are set to submit evidence to NHS Grampian on why their surgery should re-open - by filming residents travelling between Pitmedden and Tarves.

Chris York and Tamsin Morris say that the films will highlight the difficulties faced by many in using public transport to travel for a doctor’s appointment. Tarves surgery has already closed, and Pitmedden residents are worried about a loss of dispensing services in their village.

Haddo Medical Group - who operate the Pitmedden surgery - have suggested previously that they may be willing to re-open the Tarves surgery in the event that dispensing is allowed to continue in Pitmedden.

Tarves residents already have to travel to Pitmedden to see a doctor, and Udny Community Council have held meetings to highlight local concerns about the changes.

Chris York said: “We need to demonstrate to NHS Grampian that people will have serious difficulty accessing their medicines once dispensing at the Pitmedden surgery stops. But a presentation to the NHS Board in a warm, dry office, makes it hard to get that message across. Which is why we thought we’d use film and capture the real stories behind the journey.

“So far we’ve spoken to young Mums who don’t have access to a car during the day; disabled people who can’t drive and residents who don’t own a car.

“Although the bus journey itself only takes about five minutes, the service isn’t very frequent, so in most cases will take people over two hours to see a doctor and collect a prescription – something that currently takes around 20 minutes on a good day. We’re not expecting the NHS Board to watch people standing at the bus stop for hours, but we hope to give them a flavour of what they’re expecting people to do. So far we’ve filmed 14 people showing the problems they are going to have.”

One piece of the footage - available on the savetarvessurgery.org.uk website - shows visually impaired Tarves resident Susanna Bichard making her way on public transport to Pitmedden, a journey which, according to the film-makers, took over two hours.

A spokeswoman from the new Tarves pharmacy told the Times that the pharmacy were happy to deliver prescriptions to those who required them.