A basic profile of the long-established Blairgowrie community hospital, medical and health-related facilities either not mentioned at all or only barely by other websites of what is now, after Perth became a city once again, the largest town in Perthshire, Scotland, United Kingdom. Written from the point of view of potential newcomers to the town and/or area and residents interested in seeing their excellent health-related and health promotion facilities being given some long-deserved attention and worldwide website coverage. Having a good community hospital and relevant related services and facilities nearby and being only eighteen miles from Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee are major relocation advantages for all potential newcomers to the area. For tourists, business visitors, employers, employees, researchers, retirees, scholars.
|Blair town profile|
By Keith A. Forbes at email@example.com. Keith, a disabled internationally accredited travel writer, lives in Rattray, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, with his disabled wife Lois. Keith also writes the 135+ websites on Bermuda Online, including the websites on Bermuda's King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Bermuda's Healthcare.
Blairgowrie's location compared to places shown.
As there is presently no working basic NHS Tayside Blairgowrie Community Hospital website, it is hoped the following will be useful. When the author above, a travel writer and researcher, and his wife were newcomers to Blairgowrie in 2010, they needed to find out as much as they could about the Blairgowrie Community Hospital/Cottage Hospital they were going to need to use a lot, and other health-related services. This website was the result, in conformity with the Scottish Health Council's (SHC) About Us announcement at http://www.scottishhealthcouncil.org/about_us/about_us.aspx encouraging public interest and positive public involvement in NHS Tayside matters. This website is updated regularly.
Blairgowrie Community Hospital, NHS Tayside photo and directions.
From 10 am to 3 pm and 6-7 pm there was an Open to All Interested Members of the Public meeting in the Day Room to receive details of re-configuration and re-development intentions for this NHS Tayside-administered hospital. The Communications Department, NHS Tayside, was responsible for contacting local and regional newspapers, producing posters and A5 leaflets regarding news of the event. Relevant information about the day and its activities and purposes appears on the main NHS Tayside web pages, NHS Tayside Social Media sites and the website focusing on the Strathmore Advisory Group, namely http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk, then under "Quick Links" see Informing, Involving and Consulting in Strathmore). Attendees included appropriate professional health services representatives from the NHS Tayside Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP) - see http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/chp/pkchp/services-partnership.shtml and members of the Strathmore Advisory Group organized in 2011 to advise NHS Tayside on local health issues and concerns, especially those that relate to this hospital and its services. Not present (but invited) were any local MSPs or the MP or local Perth and Kinross Councillors, but Murdo Fraser MSP and Councillor Caroline Sheirs took the time and effort to sent their best wishes for the hospital via the Blair Blast. There were short information sessions at 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm to provide those interested with a more detailed explanation of the plan. A timeline of events were included with the displays. 77 individuals from the hospital's Strathmore remit area attended for the event, out of a total in the Strathmore area of 424.4 square miles and population of about 29,000.
Major changes, possibly to cost up to £2.4 million when completed, are to:
Enlarge, create and extend, from the former Strathmore Unit (see below), new and/or much-improved standards of ensuite room-sizes and associated service areas, and move thereto, the present GP Unit for short-term patients. Presently, the GP unit has 22 beds - One eight-bedded unit, five two-bedded units and four single rooms. The current mix of multi-bed accommodation limits what the hospital can manage in terms of patient care, dignity and privacy. The new GP unit (better than present accommodation at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) and Dundee's Ninewells) will offer single room and double room accommodation, with 9 single rooms and 4 double rooms. The increase in single rooms will help to accommodate the needs of palliative and bariatric patients. On completion of the changes patients will have more privacy (room windows will no longer be seen from the car park) and considerably more comfort and facilities than before. The modern, fit-for-purpose GP Unit will also incorporate a new Physiotherapy area and a new, larger Minor Injury and Illness Unit. This will give the hospital the potential to provide some treatments in the future that would otherwise require patients to travel to PRI or Ninewells. The redevelopment will also give clinicians scope to deliver new treatments locally.
Eliminate the Strathmore Unit on the south side of the hospital, as a hospital residence for longer-term patients including those with dementia. The Scottish Government which controls and funds NHS Scotland has deemed it is no longer feasible or practical or financially affordable to accommodate them in an NHS Tayside community hospital setting and/or hospice setting as they were until the recent past. Now, by staff based at this hospital they are being seen at their own homes or at specific residential units for the dementia-afflicted and/or elderly. See Scottish Government Dementia Strategy at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/Services/Mental-Health/Dementia.
Create, from the former GP unit on the south side of the building adjacent to the hospital's main car park, offices and facilities for all or most health-related staff presently serving the in-patient and out-patient and home-based the community in a number of areas.
There will be mostly internal, not external, changes made to the present 19th and 20th century buildings to bring them up to 21st century hospital and medical standards.
The vacant space in the current GP Unit will be used dependent on the needs of the community, such as outpatient clinics and office accommodation for community outreach services such as the Strathmore Dementia Service.
Blairgowrie Community Hospital plans were approved in March 2013. See http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/Strathmore/docs/RedevelopmentOfBlairgowrieCommunityHospitalGivenGreenLight.pdf. But in August 2013 it became apparent the previously-made plans were no longer possible, due to drainage difficulties and other environmental and health-and-safety limitations that prevented any outward building expansion. There were changes made in architects. In May 2013 preliminary work began with some services relocated from the hospital to the Adult Resource Centre and are soon due to begin in earnest on the modifications now expected to cost in the region of well over £1 million, not the £750,00 or so initially thought. Building work is scheduled to commence at the end of December 2013 and should be completed by October 2014.
Hear the hilarious Hospital Song at http://www.songlyrics.com/10cc/the-hospital-song-lyrics/. Or this one at http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/anesthetists-hymn-seven-youtube-healthcare-videos-worth-watching/2009-10-23. Or this one at http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/breathe-seven-youtube-healthcare-videos-worth-watching/2009-10-23.
Otherwise known as Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital.
Perth Road, Blairgowrie, Perthshire PH10 6EE. Phone 01250 874466 (Reception). 01250 877843 (Strathmore Dementia Services Unit). 01250 877854 (GP Unit). 01250 875405 (Psychiatric Nurses). 01250 872030 (District Nurses). 01250 876668 (Health Visitors). Senior Charge Nurse is Sheena O'Brien.
Location. Half a mile south of the town centre of Blairgowrie on the main Perth to Blairgowrie A93 main road.
A Minor Injuries Unit. A well-managed, pleasant and first-class Minor Injuries facility, a major local community asset with a wide range of community health services. Reception is to the right after entering. Also referred to as Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital, as it started as such. Volunteers who are members of Friends of the Blairgowrie Community Hospital make an important contribution to the life of the hospital by tending the flowers in the wards, visiting the sick, providing a library service to patients and looking after the hospital gardens.
Today, as the only community hospital in the region it serves folks living in the Strathmore area (424.4 square miles, with a population of about 29,000 of which about 5,500 are over 65). The Strathmore area includes Blairgowrie and Rattray, Altamount, Alyth and New Alyth, Ardler, Ballintuim, Bendochy, Blackwater, Bridge of Cally, Burrelton, Cargill, Carsie, Carse, Cluny, Craighall, Coupar Angus, Dunsinnan, Eassie, Glen Isla, Glenshee, Hallyburton, Keillor, Kettins, Kilry, Kinclaven, Kinloch, Kinrossie, Kirkmichael, Lintrathen, Lornty, Meigle, Meikleour, Middleton, Newtyle, Rosemount, Spittalfield, St. Fink, Tullyfergus, Wolfhill and Woodside.
Two free parking disabled spaces (often abused by the non-disabled) are near the entrance, with more spaces situated elsewhere on the premises.
National Health Service (NHS) Tayside: at http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/. Blairgowrie and area/region are in NHS Tayside's Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP) - see http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/chp/pkchp/services-partnership.shtml.
NHS 24 for out-of-hours emergency: Hotline 08454 242424.
Ambulance: Scottish Ambulance Service at http://www.scottishambulance.com/
It serves all of Perthshire and Kinross Council's Ward 3, most of Ward 2 and part of Ward 1 shown below.
Perth and Kinross Council areas
History. The idea of a hospital at Blairgowrie had been initiated by Mrs Clerk-Rattray in 1882, and on whose death bequeathed £25 for 'such an institution should it ever be founded.' Several attempts were made to get subscriptions going over the following years - all failed. Then Mrs Macpherson of Newton Castle, Blairgowrie, gifted the site and that was followed by subscriptions ranging from donations of £1000 downwards. The architect, Lake Falconer of L and J Falconer, architects, Blairgowrie, gave his services free, while things like furnishing, landscaping was also donated by other residents of the town. Blairgowrie and Rattray Districts Cottage Hospital - as it was then known - was opened on 30th May 1901. The description of the hospital when it opened said it had two large wards with room for three female and three male beds, plus a couple more if needed. After it opened, there was no longer any need to continue what had earlier been a separate small cottage hospital in Rattray. From the day it opened it was welcomed and appreciated by both the Blairgowrie and Rattray and much further beyond communities. Inside the foyer is a fascinating report, collection and artifacts showing the long and distinguished history and many medical uses of this building. For many years after it was first opened it had its own medical and surgical staff before becoming a Minor Injuries Unit of NHS Tayside overseen by the Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP).
Friends of Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital (BCH) are volunteers who make a uniquely important contribution to the life of the hospital and its in-patients by tending the flowers in the wards, visiting the sick, providing a library service to patients, arranging a seasonal Carol Service and patients' party complete with entertainment at the hospital, looking after the hospital gardens and funding important equipment for inpatients. Office-bearers elected at the May 20, 2013 Annual General Meeting were: Chairman, Douglas Kidd; vice-chairman, Nigel King; secretary, Jacqui Rutherford; treasurer, Susan Edwards; Committee, Margaret Butchart; Adeline Casey; Dorothy Chalmers; Bill Christie: Connie Irvine; Irené Matheson; Billy Mackay; Graham McNeill, George Milne; Margaret Nicol; Myrtle Petrie; and Christine Wallace, with the local GP representative Karalyn McNeill.
Strathmore Advisory Group (SAG). On 3rd November 2010 the Dundee Courier published news of public concerns raised about about the Cottage Hospital and whether it would stay or go. On 10th May 2011, a key public meeting was held in Blairgowrie, - see http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/Strathmore/docs/TranscriptOfPublicMeeting10-05-11.pdf, as a direct result of which persons attending were asked if they would like to be further involved and from their interest the 21-member SAG was formed. Its (indirect) website is http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk, then under "Quick Links" see Informing, Involving and Consulting in Strathmore). It first met at BCH on 25th October 2011. Subsequent meetings, all at BCH, were held in 2012 and 2013. From those meetings, NHS Tayside initially planned to reconfigure and spend £750,000 in 2012 on BCH. That has since been enlarged. SAG operates in a manner complementary and supplementary to the long-established Friends of the Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital (BCH) - see above - to both ensure both the hospital's survival and hopefully assist in new directions, with its mostly lay members (including representation from the Scottish Health Council) co-operating with NHS Tayside and CHP professionals for the healthcare betterment of the entire Blairgowrie and hospital catchment area NHS client community. SAG's specific purpose is not to act as an agent of the Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership (CHP) but to liaise with the latter and provide a forum to allow the officers of the CHP to stimulate public discussion about, and thereby facilitate the improvement and re-design of local and regional healthcare services. Some NHS Tayside staff attend SAG meetings. SAG's Chairman and Vice Chairman, appointed in October 2013, are local residents Mr. David Bailey and Mrs Lois Forbes. SAG is not responsible for and so should not be used as a conduit to make any complaints about the hospital. Instead, they should be sent directly to NHS Tayside by the complainant, not through any third-party intermediaries. Substantial building works are underway, bound to cause some unusual problems and additional stress on both patients and hospital staff. Those who complain should note that the hospital will remain open during renovations, a huge benefit to the public, instead of being closed completely.
GP medical practices serving this hospital are shown separately below. One is adjacent to the hospital.
Hospital's two clearly-marked Disabled Parking spaces near the main entrance.
Exhibits on display near Reception at the Blairgowrie Community Hospital.
Until May 2013, Day room for many meetings and groups, Older People's Exercise Group, etc. With four patient's toilets. Now a historic photo as after May 2013, re-configured as the main Physiotherapy room.
Before May 2013, physiotherapy treatment areas. All photos above by this writer
Accident and emergency (A&E) patients at the A&E hospitals below will be pleased to know that in 2012 and 2013 to date only NHS Tayside has met national Scottish standards that require patients to be seen and transferred or discharged within four hours of asking for assistance.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHS_Tayside for the complete list. Those with potential or actual relevance to Blairgowrie are:
King's Cross Hospital, Clepington Road, Dundee. A former fever hospital, now the operational headquarters of NHS Tayside.
Murray Royal Hospital, see http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/patients/hospital/MURRAY_ROY_HOSP.shtml - Perth, PH2 7BH. Phone 01738 621151. Mental Health.
Ninewells, Dundee, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninewells_Hospital -and http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/patients/hospital/ninewells.shtml - 18 miles away, phone 01382 660111. Major facility. One of the largest hospitals in the world and also one of the largest teaching hospitals in the world.
Ninewells. Note that Disabled Parking, costing £1.90, is also for a maximum of four hours.
Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth_Royal_Infirmary - and http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/patients/hospital/pri.shtml - and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Perth-Royal-Infirmary/158424270837008 -18 miles away, phone 01738 623311. Major facility, Accident and Emergency, 267 beds, in present location since 1912-14 (before that at where the Perth A. K. Bell Library now exists), extended in 1993.
For PRI and Ninewells. Best to go by bus from Blairgowrie (two buses each way, change in Perth and Dundee respectively) as parking (free) is usually a problem at PRI and from October 2011 cost £1.90 (increased from 1 November 2012 to £2) for a maximum of 4 hours at Ninewells, even for the disabled. Here in Blairgowrie and area, many older and/or restricted-mobility residents need to go quite frequently by bus (route 58, 58A or car to either Ninewells or PRI. But for the older and mobility-restricted, going by car to PRI Outpatients is often a major problem, with very limited Disabled Parking spaces often abused by miscreants. In January 2012 a severely disabled Blairgowrie patient had to park many streets away from PRI's Outpatients area and work her way painfully up the hill to get there. PRI warns the public not to go by car due to major parking problems (which PRI could help lessen if it monitored Disability Parking violations, but it does not). Folks from Blairgowrie and region who are elderly or mobility-impaired with no car need to go by bus (34, 58 or 59), the most frequent of which is the 58 or 58A). When they arrive at the bus stop in Perth (mostly at Kinnoull St) they have to walk to Mill Street to take another (#1) bus. That second bus drops them off at the bottom of the hill leading to the PRI Outpatients wing, meaning there is a steep walk up the hill. The same applies on the return journey except that the walking distance is longer to get from where the PRI bus (#2) stops in Perth to the South Street bus stop for the Blairgowrie bus. Only the Ninewells/PRI bus (service 333), not the #1 or #2 Perth city to PRI bus drops people off at the lower floor of the Outpatients wing, enabling them to immediately and easily take the lift. Unfortunately, that Ninewells/PRI service 333 bus does not stop at places convenient for PRI-bound Blairgowrie folks to connect with it. Blairgowrie residents will find the Broxden Park and Ride 333 service to/from PRI is both unrealistic and very limited in convenience (last buses leave Broxden for PRI at 1505 for the 7 minute ride to PRI and from PRI at 1515 to Broxden). Overall, it is a tedious experience for elderly/mobility-restricted Blairgowrie residents to go by bus to PRI. Those who can go by car, especially when mobility-impaired and with a Disabled Parking Badge, are advised not to attempt to go by car to PRI but instead to go merely as far as the A. K. Bell Library on Perth's South Street, leave the car there then take the frequent (every 10 minutes or so) No. 1 bus from near the library to PRI. Only for PRI appointments after 4 pm is there a reasonable chance for the disabled with an appropriate parking badge to get a Disabled Parking Space outside the Outpatients wing.
Royal Dundee Liff Hospital, Dundee DD2 5NF. Adult Psychiatry and old age psychiatry.
Royal Victoria Hospital, Jedburgh Road. Dundee, DD2 1SP. Phone 01382 423000. Elderly assessment, continuing care, palliative care, younger disabled, brain injury rehabilitation, medicine for the elderly admin base.
Hospital Chaplains’ Contact Numbers. Ninewells, Dundee: 01382 225228. Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI): 01738 622241.
NHS Tayside vacancies for jobseekers/upward mobility vacancies. See http://www.thinknhstayside.com/Current_Vacancies.html.
When you get your letter informing you of admission it will tell you the day and time to come and will also ask you to bring all your GP-approved prescriptions in their original packaging. Plus, if you are due for an operation, you may be told to stop taking aspirin or another/other medications a stipulated number of days beforehand. But what you are not told is what else to bring. When you first arrive, you may be asked to sit in a waiting room for an hour or so, while your details are processed or a bed is made ready for you, or both. When arrive in your ward a nurse will take your medications from you and lock them in a unit next to your bed. She will retain the key of the unit and administer the doses. For your own comfort and convenience bring books or magazines and your own personal toiletries including a comb, dentures if you use them, denture cream, deodorant, dressing gown, electric shaver or razor and shaving cream if a man, facial tissues (Kleenex or similar), hairbrush, hand wipes, mobile phone (now allowed in a non-emergency ward), mobile phone charger, pajamas (instead of the issued hospital gown), slippers (you will need them to go to the bathroom in the ward, especially when the floor has just been thoroughly washed and may be slippery), soap and/or shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste and washrag. Note that none of the above are available in any hospital bathroom/shower room. If you forget or are unable to bring the items mentioned note that if you want them ask a visiting family member or relative to bring them as soon as possible after your admission. If that's not possible then be prepared to pay a premium price (possibly up to three times more than the supermarket price) for them from the WRVS cart that will visit your ward on a daily basis.
It's also possible (as was the case with this writer) you may find the cotton blanket on the hospital bed not long enough, wide enough or heavy enough to give you a good night's sleep, in which case ask a friend or spouse or family member to bring a freshly laundered light but adequate-size blanket when they next come to see you.
If you have a balance problem and/or sleep not on your back but on one side, make sure, or ask a member of the staff to, you fasten the rail or rails on the side of your bed, to avoid falling off the bed.
Unless you are in a High Dependency Unit where stricter rules may apply you will find the wards are quite relaxed about your choice of pajamas or nightgowns. The particularly nice thing about that otherwise medically stressful visit was how wonderfully nice, affable, kind, friendly, courteous, concerned, cheerful and competent all the hospital staff were, from consultants to doctors, nurses, student nurses, orderlies and cleaners. They made you welcome, were happy to exchange banter with other patients in the ward, looked after you well and were a credit to NHS Tayside. The fellow-patients you meet are all such nice people. (The only negative aspect I encountered was that the operation I went in for on September 30, 2012, due to be done on October 1, 2012 and for which I withheld my aspirin for six days earlier as advised and did not get breakfast the next day as I was due to have the operation not long afterwards, did not take place because I could not then go to the High Dependency Unit as prior arranged because Emergency patients arrived unexpectedly. My planned procedure, first referred to a local GP in June 2012 and a consultant in July 2012 was postponed to later in November, then further delayed, until 18th January 2013 as two days before it, while still at home I contracted (and duly reported being afflicted by) Shingles. Due to a High Dependency Unit again not being available on 18th January, 2013, Ward 1 was used.
Be aware that while patients can bring their computer laptops or notebooks or ultrabooks they will not be able to get line Internet or WIFI to send or receive emails or use the World Wide Web. (There is an NHS computer service but it is a secure network, password-protected for authorized NHS staff only).
However, in hospital wards most inpatients will be able to bring and use their mobile phones to stay in touch with families and friends.
A wonderful facility, especially when the television in your ward is on, showing some show others may be interested in but you are not. Sadly, any information about it is presently omitted in NHS Tayside pre-admission information sent to upcoming inpatients. The SHRS website above is the work of one individual who has provided a link to all Scotland's stations on one website. However, this will be closing soon (by 3 July 2013). In the meantime, Scottish hospital radio stations, individual charities all, have their own websites. The vast majority are members of the UK-wide Hospital Broadcasting Association, a body which speaks for and supports the individual stations but with no control over them.
If you become an inpatient at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) or Ninewells, within a day or two after you are admitted to your ward you may be visited by a member of Hospital Radio Perth (Scottish Charity number SC012048). At Ninewells it will be a member of Dundee's equivalent, Bridge FM. You will be told about the programming on offer and asked if you'd like a classical or non-classical music request on the nightly request show. Requests played can range from Country and Western to Oldies and Goldies, classical and much in between. Hospital Radio Perth will gladly play classical requests although in general if the piece is more that 7 or 8 minutes long they will play an excerpt. They play full pieces on their dedicated classical music shows. At Bridge FM the methodology may differ.
It was a really nice and cheerful surprise to find this wonderful service and it more than deserves some good Blairgowrie publicity via this website. In my case, as an inpatient at Perth Royal Infirmary Ward 1 for the night of 1st October 2012, a charming lady from Hospital Radio Perth visited me in the ward, told me about the service not mentioned earlier in any PRI hospital admission information, showed me where the headphones were and how to use them and the volume control. She kindly took my request for a Pat Boone song I hoped would be played to honour my wife and it was duly played at request-time later that evening. I made a point of hearing it played, complete with a nice introduction mentioning my first name and ward, from Perth Hospital Radio. I was really impressed by this facility. Here's a sample of such a request, a 1960s pop song, by Pat Boone. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30jJlIZRJ1c. If you prefer a classical music piece, here's one of my all-time favourite pieces, Beethoven's Triple Concerto, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inqZlo4O0MI. Another is Casta Diva by Bellini sung by Nana Mouskouri at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p5T8U2qGF4. Or listen to her superb recording of a lovely Spanish melody at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ua-G3YOnOs&feature=related. Or her gorgeous Qual Cor Tradisti at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BQxcaYp8Jk. Or be amazed by her magnificent recording of Amazing Grace at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhc7MEYY-Ho. A sixth is Lehar's Volga Lied at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAQNX66pe4. Classical requests no longer than 6 minutes may be played.
If you would like to make a hospital radio request for someone - friend or family - there on a certain day, send your request to http://www.hrperth.co.uk/contact-us.php - or by telephone to 01738 440044, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write, in good time, to Perth Hospital Radio, Perth Royal Infirmary, Taymount Terrace, Perth PH1 1NX. Requests are usually played at night, sometimes at a specific time or near it, between 8 pm (2000 hours) and 10 pm (2200 hours). Or, if you are an inpatient or a spouse or friend or family member of an inpatient at Ninewells or any other Dundee hospital, send your request to http://www.bridgefm.org.uk via telephone to 01382 496333 or email email@example.com or write, in good time, to Bridge FM Hospital Radio, THBG, Level 5, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY.
Comment January 18, 2012 from a Blairgowrie patient at PRI. "Sadly, this fine service was operating from a standard Ward 1 hospital bed at such a low volume that it was just not possible to hear. Efforts to turn up the volume would not work. For hospital in-patients in 6-bed wards, especially those furthest away from the room's sole TV and/or who are not interested in a particular television programme, hospital radio music is the only practical way to hear alternative and often better music and news. But it now seems to be no longer available."
See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/09/22091148/2. Enacted from 1st October 2012. Hospitals in Scotland are legally obliged to treat patients within 12 weeks of diagnosis under a new law effective from 30th September 2012. The legal guarantee is one of several rights included in the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities, which ministers are required to publish under the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011. An independent advice service has also been set up to offer advice and support to NHS patients across Scotland. Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "Patients in Scotland are being treated quicker than ever - and this fast treatment will now be protected by a legal guarantee. We are continuing to meet our full 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment target, and now, as part of this journey, once patients are diagnosed and agree to the treatment it will start within 12 weeks. In 2007 over 29,000 people were stuck on 'hidden waiting lists' not getting the treatment they needed. I am proud that Scottish patients are reaping the benefits of what the NHS can achieve by protecting the founding principles of the National Health Service." However, as mentioned in January 2013 in BBC Scotland news reports, there are some substantial exclusions to the above-mentioned Patients Bill of Rights.
GPs in this area and their staff come under the overall medical supervision of NHS Tayside. It is often assumed, wrongly, they are employed directly by NHS Tayside. In fact they are independent contractors, not employed directly by NHS Tayside but under contract to the latter. GP surgeries normally operate from 8:30 am to 6 pm or so on a 5-day week, a normal maximum of 40 hours a week or thereabouts. Telephone consultations are available daily with both GPs and practice nurses to discuss problems. Please contact the receptionist who will take details of your contact number and advise of when the doctor/nurse will ring you back. If you have a genuinely urgent medical problem that you feel needs attention on the same day, explain this to the receptionist and you will be seen. When their patients need and try to reach them out of normal working hours there is no GP on call for emergencies, patients are instead expected to either contact NHS Inform at http://www.nhsinform.co.uk or NHS 24 at http://www.nhs24.com/) or, to avoid going through that procedure if the patient is injured in a road accident or other emergency and the condition is deemed serious enough to be possibly life-threatening, on a line phone or mobile phone dial 999 - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/999_(emergency_telephone_number). Please do not abuse the urgent appointment system with non-urgent problems as these are generally best managed during normal consultation times when they can give you more time. GP surgeries also have extended surgery times one evening a week - please ask at the reception desk. They are not on-call at night or on weekends and public holidays. Thus their normal working hours comprise only 40 hours of the 168 hours in each week, or less than 25% of the total for the week. Which is why, in addition to GP surgeries, the NHS provides the NHS Inform service mentioned above for night-time, weekends and public holidays service. NHS Tayside telephone, hospital and related medical services operate 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Anne Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6EF. Situated adjacent to the community hospital. Tel 01250 872033. Fax 01250 874517. Dr A. D. Shaw; Dr. J. M. Mackay; Dr. Ivor Sim; Dr. Andrew Buist; Dr. Morag Martindale; Dr. Graeme Gatherer; Dr. J. E. Hartlett.
Ardblair Medical Practice. 2012 photo by this author. With three disabled parking spaces.
Jessie Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6BT • Tel 01250 872552. Dr. Karalyn E. M. McNeill; Dr. Richard D. Humble.
Strathmore Surgery. 2012 photo by this author.
Candlehouse Lane, Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie. PH13 9DP • Tel 01828 627318.
New Alyth Road, Alyth, Blairgowrie PH11 8EQ • Tel 01828 632317.
Boots. 49 Allan Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6AB. Phone 01250 872029.
Davidsons. 21/24 Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie PH10 6AT. Phone 01250 870282.
Davidsons. 9 Airlie Street. Alyth PH11 8AH. Phone 01828 632302.
Davidsons. The Cross, Coupar Angus PH13 9DA. Phone 01828 627359.
Davidsons. 31 Percy Street, Stanley PH1 4LU. Phone 01738 828866.
Alyth classes of Dru Yoga. Mondays, Alyth Town Hall, 7:30 to 9 pm. Next session 22 October to 10th December 2012, 8 classes, fee £30 each. For all ages and abilities. Posture, breathing, exercises. Bring a blanket, water bottle and wear loose clothing. Aileen Brown.
Angus Hotel Blairgowrie Leisure Club. A nice local or nearby hydrotherapy pool, of the same calibre of the wonderful disability-equipped Puffin Hydrotherapy Pool we'd used frequently in Dingwall, Ross-shire. The Live Active pools in Perth were OK but water was cold compared to the Puffin Pool. Later, we were lucky to find the wonderful Angus Hotel pool, not a hydrotherapy pool per se but with much warmer heated water than at the Live Active centres in town or Perth, also with steam room and whirlpool as they do, but with this pool much quicker and easier to get to and not nearly as crowded. Altogether an excellent facility despite the cost.
Blairgowrie and Area Healthy Communities Collaborative. Meets at 2:15 pm on pre-arranged days, generally monthly, at the Blairgowrie Community Hospital. A variety of health-related advice, topics and happenings. Part of NHS Tayside Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Project. Also organizes weekly (Monday, 2 pm) Elderly Gentle Exercise Class in the Strathmore Day Room at the Community Hospital and similar exercises for the elderly in Alyth, Coupar Angus, etc.
Blairgowrie and District Hillwalking Club. Phone 01307 840520 or 01307 840535.
Blairgowrie and District Next Steps Walking Group. Nick & Sue Cole, Balmacron Farmhouse, Meigle, Perthshire PH12 8TD. Phone 01828 640763. Walks are Low level and easy from around 45 to 90 minutes. Or Mid level and moderate. No significant hill climbing, walks are intended to be mainly on paths and tracks. Or Mid to High level and strenuous.
Blairgowrie classes of Dru Yoga. Thursdays, from 25th October 2012, 8 classes, fee £30. For all ages and abilities. Posture, breathing, exercises. Bring a blanket, water bottle and wear loose clothing. Aileen Brown.
Blairgowrie Gentle Exercise for Older People. Mondays, 2-3 pm. Until 13th May 2013 in the Dayroom at Blairgowrie Community Hospital, (thereafter, with massive renovations at the hospital), at the Blairgowrie Adult Resource Centre, Jessie Street, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, PH10 6BT. Tailored to suit all abilities, seated or standing. Led by professional exercise instructor Susie Black. (see http://www.sblackfitness.co.uk/#!group-classes). Every Monday in the Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital Strathmore Day Room from 2 pm to 3 pm. Cost £2 per person per week or £9 per person for a 6-week block. All welcome. Bring a friend. Supported by NHS Tayside Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Project.
Susie Black, left, with part of the Blairgowrie Gentle Exercise group
Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland. Monday mornings. St. Catherine's Community Centre, St. Catherine's Church, Blairgowrie. For those with a communications difficulty following a stroke, in hope of gently helping them to participate in a variety of activities. The group is coordinated by a member of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) staff and is supported by a team of trained volunteers.
Enverdale Fitness. Enverdale House Hotel, Pleasants Road, Coupar Angus Prthshire PH13 9JB. Phone 01848 627303. Fitness classes, workout and dietary advice, dietery supplements shop, lose weight.
Greengairs Health and Fitness. Karen and Mike Walsh. Greengairs Farm, St. Fink, Rattray, Blairgowrie PH10 7HE. Tel: MOB 07718 387790. Functional rehabilitation and exercise training for stroke survivors and keep-fit programmes for the more mobile.
Hoola Hoop Workout. Mondays, from 22 October. Works every muscle group, boosts energy, coordination and flexibility, fun. Wear comfortable, not-too-loose clothing, flat shoes. Julie Driscoll and Laura Smart. From 22 October 2012, Altamount Hotel, Blairgowrie 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, fee £25 plus 50p hula hoop hire.
Keep The Glens Fit. 20-20-20 aerobics and circuits. Available for all. Tuesday 9:30 to 10:30 am at Bridge of Cally Hall, Thursday 9:30 to 10:30 am at Blackwater Hall. Cost £4 per session or 3 for £10. Organized and led by Susie Black (see http://www.sblackfitness.co.uk/#!group-classes).
Live Active Blairgowrie. Swimming, sports hall and gym. Nice facilities, smaller edition of the huge and impressive facilities at Live Active Perth.
Pilates. St. Anne's Hall, Forfar Road, Coupar Angus. Tuesday 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm, Wednesday 9:30 am to 10:30 am. Thursday 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost £6 per session 10 persons maximum. Organized and led by Susie Black (see http://www.sblackfitness.co.uk/#!group-classes).
Realistic Pilates. Block bookings, classes run in blocks of 6 weeks at St. Catherine's Hall, Blairgowrie and Ogillvy Rooms, Alyth. Phone MOB 07846 468816.
Tai Chi. Tuesdays, Blairgowrie Town Hall, 10:30 am to 12 noon, fee £25 for 6 classes 24th October to 28th November. Lilla Streather.
An umbrella term for people with no-cure but sometimes manageable chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both and chronic obstructive airways. See British Lung Foundation at www.blf.org.uk/Conditions/Detail/COPD. Also see under Stop Smoking.
As qualified local residents, if you've not already signed up for and received one and want to go on holiday or business in Europe, to entitle you to free or reduced-cost health care if you get ill or have an accident in any European Union country you'll need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). In 2005 it replaced the old E111 form. You can apply by completing the online form (your card will be delivered in seven days) or by calling 0845 606 2030. Every family member needs a separate card. You can apply for an EHIC for your spouse/partner and any children up to the age of 16 (or 19 if they are in full-time education) at the same time as applying for your own. Before you apply, you need to have the name, date of birth and NHS or national insurance (NI) number of everyone you are applying for.
The EHIC lasts for 3-5 years and allows UK nationals, resident in the UK, to receive free or reduced-cost emergency healthcare when visiting European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Department of Health website explains where the EHIC is valid. The treatment will be free or at a reduced cost, but private treatment is not usually covered. If you do have to pay, it is a good idea to claim for a refund from the relevant authority in the country where you have been staying. Should you need to make a claim once you return to the UK call the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle), 0191 218 1999 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm).
If you're going to a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, it's also important to make sure you have private health insurance. This is because the EHIC may not cover all the costs of your treatment (for example, will not cover your costs if you are treated by any cruise ship or riverboat medical staff or anyone they have to call) and never covers the cost of getting you home (repatriation) if you are seriously ill.
For more information on the EHIC see the Department of Health's advice for travellers or call the EHIC Enquiries Line on 0845 605 0707.
Blairgowrie Dental Care, 64 High Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6DF • Tel 01250 875136.
Coupar Angus Dental Care, 7 Union Street, Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie PH13 9AE • Tel 01828 628280.
See http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/home.aspx and http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/inspecting_and_regulating_care/opah_tayside/ninewells_hospital_jan_2013.aspx.
See http://www.healthscotland.com/. Scotland's Health Improvement Agency.
Contact Organ Donations Scotland and join the NHS Organ Donor Register, or text LIFE to 61611.
Travel Insurance though NHS Scotland instead of through private insurance firms? Is this possible, instead of having going through private-sector commercial insurers as we do at present? NHS Scotland knows our medical history, wants and expects it to remain confidential, is in a position to rate us for risk insurance purposes, yet keeps this private. Private insurers don't know this, when we give them confidential information it is no longer confidential between ourselves and/or our GPs and/or our NHS Tayside hospitals and when we give them the information others get to know, plus if/when we use different insurers at different times we have to submit our medical histories all over again. We'd avoid that by going directly through the NHS. We'll gladly do our travel insurance through NHS Scotland if this is possible, practical and ideally at a somewhat lower cost, with insurance premiums going to the NHS instead of to private-sector insurers. Will appreciate any NHS feedback.
Also, will there ever be NHS Scotland television, as there is in England - see http://www.edirecttv.co.uk/ and/or an NHS Scotland newspaper, for possibly more effective newspaper coverage than costly periodical full-page advertising in quality newspapers such as the Dundee Courier, as happened in 2012?
See (a) www.quit.org.uk or NHS Smoke Free at http://smokefree.nhs.uk.
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See http://www.taysidelmc.co.uk/. Represents all Tayside GPs including in Blairgowrie and region. Local GP Dr. Andrew Buist is the spokesperson.
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© 2014. Revised: March 4, 2014