Newbattle Surgery, PAYFC, Buses and traffic

Tuesday February 25th 2020

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

Newbattle Surgery

I have raised the issue of the online e-consult system for appointments here firstly with the surgery and having a response which was not satisfactory, raised it again with the First Minister during questions last week. You can hear the exchange on my Facebook or on the Parliament’s website.

Now let me make it plain I have nothing in principle against an online booking system if it helps speed up appointments and so on but it is certainly not for everyone. I can think of folks who have visual impairment, who do not have access to computers or if they do don’t know how to, or want to, use them.

The trouble with the Newbattle system is that e-consult is where you must go, alternatives are add-ons. By the way the “consulting” form itself is pretty complex. My concern came about because constituents came to me expressing their concern at not being able to speak to someone first if necessary. I shared their concerns hence the correspondence and questions.

I have now been offered a meeting with the GPs and after difficulties with the “direct line” phone number I am now discussing options for a meeting by e-mail! Ironic really. I’ll let you know how that goes.

PAYFC

You may recall that this very popular football club had after much campaigning been awarded by the Council the money needed to provide an up-to-date all-weather pitch, the current one being in tatters in many places and frankly a risk to young limbs. Well this has turned into a bit of a saga and though the money apparently is still in place the pitch is not.

I am meeting with them this Friday after my Tesco surgery to chase this up.

Auchendinny Bus survey

Firstly can I thank the many, around 150 folk who completed the survey which is good going as the survey just applied to Dalmore and Auchendinny. I am hoping to put together a submission to operators and the council (who will be required to provide a subsidy) which would return a service to folks there. Housing developments in Dalmore and more to come in Auchendinny have increased the need for a better service particularly in these days when climate change demands we change our travel habits. It would also ease congestion down the A701.

Traffic congestion

Incidentally I have also been discussing the A701 with representatives from Edinburgh City Council. After all this vehicle traffic impacts not only on the bunged up Straiton junction, but the By-Pass and into Edinburgh itself so we have shared problems with I hope shared solutions.

For example, on the A7 there is money in what is known as the Edinburgh City Deal for improvements to the Sherriffhall roundabout and the plans for this are on-going. Rumours or campaigning by the Greens to cancel this are wrong and will not happen thanks goodness.

What is needed there and elsewhere both on the A701 and A7 are dedicated bus lanes right through, not just here and there. That is where councils subsidising bus routes has a crucial part to play.

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