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Recent disruption to staffing levels

Over the past 2 weeks we have had to operate an emergency service only due to critical levels of staff absence across all teams due to COVID illness, this has included turning off econsult. We would like to thank our patients’ for their understanding and support over this time. By operating this system we have been able to continue to offer urgent care to those who required it.  
Whilst we are still significantly impacted by staff absences due to COVID illness, and by no means back to usual staffing levels, we are hoping to offer greater accessibility by re-opening e-consult on Tuesday 5th April. We would still request that this is used for urgent and emergency health problems currently, whilst we are not back to full staffing levels. Your local pharmacist continues to be a great first port of call for minor illness, and they are able to treat by prescription through the pharmacy first scheme.

eConsult opening times

As outlined in the recent 'Message from the Practice' (available in 'Latest News') we are currently working to improve our use of triage.  Part of this involves a reduction of the hours the eConsult service will be available.  The service will now be available between 8 and 11am Monday to Friday.  Patients should use this as their first point of contact for routine medical conditions or administrative requests.  As always more urgent matters will be dealt with on the day by the duty team.  The Practice is also developing new Triage streams that should improve access for all patients and we will keep you informed of developments here. 

A Message from the Practice

Society, Governments and Health and Social Care services are facing challenges never previously seen in our lifetimes.  The Covid 19 pandemic has enveloped the globe causing disruption, chaos and resource challenges that are hard to accept and understand.

As a health care provider the Maryhill Practice has been affected by this situation and service provision has been severely impacted by stringent Public Health and government restrictions which are stricter and more draconian than in many other walks of life.

Throughout the pandemic patients have been seen and treated based on assessment of clinical need.   The difficulties already outlined have meant we have had to change our service provision.  These changes have been necessary and reactive and have brought both positive and negative effects.  It is important we are honest about these.

Despite imposed restrictions we have managed to remain open and have been seeing patients face to face since the very start of Covid way back in March 2020.  We have also used phone and video consultations and have begun interacting with our patients online using eConsult (an online triage service which has been adopted across Grampian and also nationally across Scotland.)

These changes have improved access for many patients with waiting times for many GP services greatly reduced.  Phone consultations usually occur within 7 to 10 days and routine face to face GP appointments less than the pre Covid normal of 3 to 4 weeks.   Preparation for appointments, such as investigations and tests, are often arranged.  Many problems are resolved on the day and as always our Duty Team assist with urgent matters.

However we do have worries about the impact of reactive changes on other areas of work.  Some of our most frail and vulnerable patients may find it harder to access services than before and eConsult is difficult to use for some and can be over cumbersome.  Attempts to increase accessibility has also increased demand for services at a time when NHS resources are increasingly limited.   The overall effect is an increasing tension and strain in the system.

The Covid pandemic has brought new pressures but also highlighted the already stretched health and social care system prior to Covid.   The NHS is under very significant pressure and strain.  There is a well-recognised national shortage of General Practitioners with similar issues in professions such as nursing and professions allied to medicine.  Across Scotland many General Practices are closing as a result of these recruitment challenges.  We continue our search for new staff and are advertising nationally and internationally for professional staff.

All of this has led us to ask some difficult questions about how we provide a service.   We have to accept that as a result of ongoing Public Health measures we are still a long way from being “open as normal.  We have to make difficult choices about how we best use scarce resources such that we can maximise the service we offer our patients.  Patients will see changes to the way we use “clinical triage” in the coming months so that we can retain some of the positive aspects of change whilst trying to address the difficulties around access for clinical need.

We would urge you to please bear with us as we try to respond and react to a constantly changing picture.   It should also be remembered that staff working at the Maryhill Practice are members of the public too and we are not immune to the challenges, illnesses and tragedies that affect everyone in their daily lives and that the distress created by Covid is universal.

There is an option below (please click on link) to access a staff communication that sets out some of the difficulties in more depth and detail but which refers to terms and concepts not frequently discussed in the day to day.

Letter To Maryhill Staff


All Scots advised to take vitamin D says new health guidance

In Scotland, we only get enough of the right kind of sunlight for our bodies to make vitamin D in this way during roughly half the year (April to September), mostly between 11 am and 3 pm. This means some people are unlikely to get enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Scots should consider taking vitamin D supplements all-year round, but particularly in autumn and winter, according to new health advice.

The vitamin is crucial for the production of healthy bones and low levels can lead to rickets in children.

Topping up vitamin D levels could also help prevent multiple sclerosis which is particularly common in Scotland.

The government commissioned report recommends everyone age 5 years and above should consider taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms vitamin D, particularly during the winter months (October – March).

Click the image for more information


Ear Syringing  

We are committed to providing best practice and high quality medical care to our registered patients. Ear syringing is no longer considered to be the first line treatment for the clearing of ear wax and it is not a funded service within the NHS for General Practice.

Current guidelines are that ear drops should be used to soften the wax which will then enable the natural movement of the wax from the ear. We also suggest the use of ear wax removal systems such as the Otex wax removal systems. See the link below.

This should be available from any pharmacy. The link provides help and information on use.

Breast cancer: Menopausal hormone therapy risks 'bigger than thought'

As you might be aware, there has been information regarding HRT highlighted by social media and in the national news. The information below may help you understand the risks and benefits taking these medications.


MHRA HRT-patient-sheet-Sept 2019.pdf


Attend Anywhere Video Consultations

Where appropriate, you can have a consultation online via a video call. Video calling is as convenient as a phone call, with the added value of face-to-face communication. It can save you time and money, and brings your care closer to home/

Full user information can be found here Attend Anywhere


   Only do this if you have been given a video consultation appointment by a clinician.





Gardening is good for you!

Did you know your doctor can now prescribe you gardening.

REAP are building and cultivating a new therapeutic organic food garden at Maryhill Medical Centre in Elgin. Gardening sessions with a variety of tasks take place twice a week. Patients can get a referral form from staff at the Medical Centre. If you’re not a patient at Maryhill, you can email the Grow Elgin Project Manager Alasdair Taylor at and ask for joining instructions. The first session was 28th August 2017 and activities continue every week – do come join us!

If you would like to be referred to the REAP therapeutic garden. please fill out the form bellow and hand it into the practice.





From May 2017 we will improve the way we use information from GP patient records. These changes will help to plan and improve health and care services in Scotland.





Chronic Medication Service (CMS)

Are you on repeat regular medication ?

You may be a suitable candidate for the Chronic Medication Service (CMS).

How CMS works:- Your GP would issue you with a SERIAL prescription rather than a standard repeat prescription.

Serial prescriptions last for 24, 48 or 56 weeks and your Pharmacist will dispense it in instalments (either every 4 weeks, 8 weeks or longer, depending on your GP’s instructions). 

Having a serial prescription does not stop you making an appointment with your GP in the usual way. 

If you feel you are suitable please speak to your preferred community pharmacy who will discuss registration with you.


Further information can be found here

CMS Frequently asked Question




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