Many of you may never have heard of Kinloch Rannoch, a small Perthshire rural community which sits on the banks for the River Tummel. It is 18 miles west of Pitlochry and a place where peace and tranquillity prosper. Kinloch Rannoch has 350 village residents and approximately 270 living in the surrounding areas of Tummel Bridge, Rannoch Station, Trinafour, Struan and Bridge of Gaur - tiny communities originating from agriculture and workers' needs.
For some time now residents of Kinloch Rannoch have had a problem. They lost their resident GP in 2007 when their doctor retired and, because in 2004 GPs were given the option to opt out of 24-hour local GP cover, no replacement could be found. They demand they have another GP who is on call 24 hours a day and consider the GP facilities now provided are too far (18 miles) and the introduction of 'first responders' is not professional enough.
On the Politics Show this Sunday Professor Alyson Pollock of Edinburgh University and Dr Andrew Buist, a rural Perthshire GP representing the BMA, argued about the provision of 24-hour GP cover to rural areas. Ms Pollock seemed to miss the point made by Dr Buist that no rural area in Perthshire is covered by a GP on a 24-hour basis.
I live in a rural area, larger and less isolated than Kinloch Rannoch but like everyone in Scotland, between the hours of 5.30pm and 8.30am and every weekend there is no local GP cover and for medical care only NHS 24 or 999 is available. This is the modern health service. Kinloch Rannoch says it can take an hour for an ambulance to reach an emergency but they also have an air ambulance to help out in such situations. In many parts of Perthshire an ambulance can take an hour or more to reach a patient and if NHS 24 recommends a doctor's visit an hour is not an exception.
Kinloch Rannoch will have to adapt to modern times. Living in such a beautiful area of the Scotland comes with advantages and disadvantages.
It was this article which prompted me to compose this post. Perhaps it's time they counted their blessings. Many do I suspect.