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About us

We’re a welcoming, high quality medical practice in Musselburgh, close to Edinburgh. We aim to provide excellent healthcare which meets the needs of each individual patient.

We’re also a training practice: every year we host a number of trainee GPs, so we can support new GPs to enter the NHS and to serve our community. You can read more about our team here.

The local healthcare system

There are approximately 900 GP Practices in Scotland – and like the overwhelming majority of these we’re an independent organisation which is contracted to provide NHS ‘General Medical Services’ to our registered patient population.

NHS Lothian is one of 14 Regional Health Boards in Scotland. Each Regional Health Board is divided into a number of Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs). East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) which we sit under is one of four HSCPs within NHS Lothian. All HSCPs are ultimately responsible for adult social care, adult primary health care and unscheduled adult hospital care.

Our history

Until 2015 there were three GP Practices in Musselburgh: ourselves, Inveresk and Eskbridge. In 2015 the Eskbridge Practice handed back its contract and the local NHS health board (ELHSCP) had to take on the care of approximately 9,000 Eskbridge patients under a ‘2C’ contract.

There had been challenges in terms of access and capacity in Musselburgh for some time. The 2017 Health and Care Experience Survey showed that all three practices struggled with access – with 20% of patients in Inveresk reporting difficulties in contacting the practice the way in which they wanted, 49% reporting the same at Riverside, and 47% reporting the same at Eskbridge.

In 2016 we began discussions with NHS Lothian and ELHSCP about an innovative new approach to try and address these challenges in Musselburgh.

In November 2017 we partnered with NHS 24 and ELHSCP and agreed a Contract under which we would take on the care of patients from the old Eskbridge Practice, if additional resource and capacity was brought into the town for patients. The ELHSCP-run CWIC service was developed, to provide this additional capacity. You can read more detail about this in the 2022 review into access and capacity at Riverside and associated local health board services. Our Contract is administered and reviewed by the Primary Care Contracts Organisation, part of NHS Lothian.

Riverside and ELHSCP are – possibly uniquely in General Practice in Scotland – jointly responsible for the care of patients registered with a GP Practice.

Broadly, our contract sets out that the team at Riverside should be responsible for providing scheduled (pre-booked) care, with ELHSCP (via the CWIC service) being responsible for same-day issues.

NHS 24 were involved via a Scottish Government-funded pilot project, with the NHS 24 team providing initial triage assessment to patients calling the Practice each morning – up to 2,500 patients a month.

The pandemic

This new ‘Musselburgh Model’ showed great promise until the pandemic in March 2020. The next two years or so were extremely challenging for both ourselves and the CWIC service, as well as – of course – for patients. The CWIC service stopped providing same-day appointments to our patients for a time, and the support we received from the NHS 24 team has ended. Patient demand increased exponentially as lockdowns lifted and both our team and the CWIC team had periods of time when recruitment challenges meant that we couldn’t provide the level of service to patients that either of us would have wanted.

Beyond Covid

We’re pleased to have attracted new clinicians and administrative staff to the Practice, and are proud to once again have a stable and fully staffed team here to serve the Musselburgh community.

At a time when the NHS as a whole faces extreme recruitment challenges – and GPs in particular are in short supply – we consider this a real achievement. This is especially the case as we see Practices around us in Lothian – and elsewhere in Scotland – handing back their contracts due to recruitment challenges. It’s of vital importance that we look after our team, so that they choose to stay working in Musselburgh.

We’re pleased at this time that the CWIC service has also managed to re-recruit, and is once again providing a larger number of daily same-day appointments to Riverside patients, as outlined under our Contract. We believe this joint effort is helping us to better meet patient need in Musselburgh.

We want to be the best that we can be, and are committed to making any and every change we can for patients.

Many of them may be small changes – but every small change can lead to a better experience for many patients, and for each individual patient that may be significant. Our team will continue to provide excellent care to people in Musselburgh, and we remain focused on our work to improve access to this care – as much as we (as an individual Practice) can with the resources we have available to us.

Riverside Medical Practice LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in Scotland (No.SO306215). Members of the partnership: Dr Richard Fairclough; Dr Joanna Stenke; Dr Richard Kitto, Dr Jeffrey Scott