This month in the Wester Hailes Community Herbal Clinic, we had a kind invitation from one of our resident GPs at the next door GP surgery, Dr Sineaid Bradshaw. She agreed to have us come and spend a morning observing her consultations. We are in a very privileged position in the Wester Hailes Healthy Living Centre to have such a commitment to partnership working from the agencies within the integrated building, so were excited to build our collaborations by spending some time with the GPs.
The clinic I attended was the Substance Misuse Clinic, a special service which runs three times a week from the practice where patients who are stable drug users are given a longer appointment of twenty minutes for a fuller check in on their medical issues and wellbeing. It runs in concert with the local Substance Misuse Directorate (SMD), key workers from the voluntary sector partners, as well as a Community Activity Mentor. Dr Bradshaw explained to me that the approach currently used is a model of Recovery, with Harm Reduction. The aim is not simply to “be the doctor who writes the methadone scripts” but to promote recovery by creating relationships with each patient, discussing and understanding their personal & social situations. The doctors prescribe medications as necessary, encouraging dose reductions as patients themselves are ready to do so, and to signpost to activities & community support for facilitating recovery.