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Save Our Surgeries campaigners from Hopeman and Burghead deliver petition to Scottish Parliament

By Abbie Duncan

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MORAY health campaigners fighting to save their local GP surgeries are in Edinburgh today to bring national attention to the issue.

The five SOS group members outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Abbie Duncan
The five SOS group members outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Abbie Duncan

The Save Our Surgeries (SOS) group from Hopeman and Burghead have travelled to the capital for meetings with MSPs and they are also due to attend a members' debate and First Minister's Questions with Humza Yousaf.

Hazel Grant of SOS said: "We are looking forward to the opportunity to be heard in parliament."

Dennis Slater added: "It's great to be given the chance to come here to the Scottish Parliament and put across our case. We've been fighting for nearly 18 months now and we're at the stage we can't go any further so hopefully these people today will take on board and listen to the message we're trying to get out."

And Syanness Tunggal, another key member of SOS, said: "It's been four years since they closed the surgeries, at the consultation 85 percent rejected the closures and 100 percent of people rejected it at public engagements and yet they still went ahead.

"We have tried every single way we could to engage with them but we can't wait any more, this is the health of our community. We are here today to ask this government and ministers to hold people accountable and put us first."

The SOS group with Richard Lochhead Moray MSP (3rd from left). Picture: Abbie Duncan
The SOS group with Richard Lochhead Moray MSP (3rd from left). Picture: Abbie Duncan

The group had early meetings with Rhoda Grant, Jackie Baillie and Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar, where they discussed the a range of transport issues following the closure of the two coastal surgeries and the difficulty patients have in attending GP appointments in Lossiemouth.

The challenges in accessing primary health care have led to illnesses becoming more serious for people in the community, and a greater reluctance for some to go to the doctor.

The group are pressing for a nurse-led service in both communities.

Five members of the group have taken a petition, signed by more than 1500 concerned residents asking for the return of GP services, to the parliament.

Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands MSP said: "I'm glad that they have come down, although I am not glad that they have had to come down.

"The parliament should be available for everybody to come and bring their worries and concerns to, so it's good that they can come down and do that and hopefully petition the parliament as well.

"It just seems to me that they been trying to compromise, that they've been trying to find solutions and that they're very solutions-driven but nobody seems willing to listen and take that on board, so that's not right.

"We know times are tough with the health service but it's unacceptable that folk should spend £60 on a taxi to get to a doctor's appointment. That is not healthcare free at the point of need."

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