"170 miles travel to get a cervical smear!!"

About: NHS Highland

(as a friend),

It appears that our local medical practice (Applecross Medical Practice) cannot offer smear tests to us ladies. It is staffed by two male GPs. My friend has been told to contact our nearest hospital in order to make an appointment for a smear. This hospital is 85 miles away - return journey of 170 miles! This is totally unacceptable. Surely the practice could provide a female doctor or trained nurse could be asked to visit the practice once in a while to do such procedures or arrangements could be made for us to travel to the next nearest practice. NHS services appear to be lacking in rural communities as it is but they are especially bad in this practice.

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Response from Caroline Champion, Planning and Public Involvement Manager, Planning, Contracting and Performance, NHS Highland (Argyll and Bute Community Health Partnership)

Thank you for taking the time to make this posting.

Yesterday, our Chief Executive Officer read this response and has escalated this to the General Manager for the area. This is being investigated and we will post an update as soon as we understand the situation.

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Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland We are preparing to make a change

picture of Maimie Thompson

I do apologise for not providing an update before now, this was an oversight by me. The General Manager for the area has liaised with colleagues to look into this matter and has fed-back as follows:

"The Applecross Doctor has confirmed he offers smears to his patients. Occasionally, however, some of his patients do not feel comfortable having them done by their local Doctor as they feel they know him (due to the small population of 240 patients). In such cases , the Doctor refers them to the nearest Hospital. In addition, unfortunately, not all locum Doctors who provide cover, are trained to provide this service. The Applecross Doctor has explored the provision of this service with the community nursing staff, but there are none trained to provide the service at present. The Doctor is currently in discussion with a neighbouring practice to see if one of their female Doctors might undertake this service in the Applecross at an agreed interval. Once this has been agreed, the Doctor will inform the community."

I hope this is helpful, and on behalf of my colleagues providing services in the area, thank you for your comments.

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