STAFF at a medical centre near Helensburgh have been "close to breaking point" over this past week as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic take an increasingly tight grip on the community.

A post on the Kilcreggan Medical Centre's Facebook page describes how the staff have received some "quite hurtful" comments from some service users as they try to cope with the growing number of people self-isolating due to the outbreak.

But the post also says staff at the centre have been "truly humbled" by people who have sent cards, kind words and gifts to the staff, and who have volunteered to help keep services going.

The post stated: "This has been a difficult, stressful and at times emotional week for us all. Like everyone else, we have no idea where this virus is going, or how long it's going to last.

"Thank you so much to the volunteers who have offered to help our patients in any way they can, picking up or delivering prescriptions, or just a chat.

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"We have a list at reception so if you need, or you know someone who may need, a bit of help, please call us and we'll pass a contact number on.

"We understand this is an uncertain time for everyone - people are worried and unsure of what to do.

"We have received some negative comments and feedback from some people, which can be quite hurtful because we are all trying to do the best we can in an ever changing and unknown situation.

"We are people too, with families and friends we love and want to be with.

"Dr Susan, our GP this week, and all our staff have worked tirelessly to answer queries and make sure medication requests are dealt with and sometimes during this week in particular, have been close to breaking point.

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"So I want to thank those of you who have sent us cards and a lovely hamper with chocolate goodies, and some kind words. You have no idea just how much those gestures do to lift our spirits.

"We are truly humbled. Thank you all."

Meanwhile, those messages of thanks and praise haven't been limited to medical staff in Kilcreggan.

Having asked patients showing symptoms of Covid-19 to stay away, the Millig Practice at Helensburgh Medical Centre introduced a 'full telephone triage' system this week, stating that no members of the public should attend the practice unless specifically told to do so by their doctor or nurse.

And the ongoing commitment of employees to serve residents in the face of adversity has been recognised by the local community.

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Sarah Jane Black commented: “They are working non-stop and the management are running the surgery to a tee.

“I am so proud of how well they are running the practice.

“I’ve heard horror stories about other practices, yet these people in the Millig Practice should be recognised.

“They are keeping calm and constantly updating patients through text messages and it’s just absolutely outstanding.”

Laura Watt added: “I absolutely second this. I’ve had to contact them twice over the last couple of weeks and they’ve been calm and patient, and have taken the time to explain how they’re going about things.”

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The other practice based at Helensburgh Medical Centre, Dr McLachlan and Partners, has also told people not to turn up at the surgery without having phoned in advance.

The doors of the surgery have been locked every day and the phone lines are closed from 12 noon until 1pm to allow time to keep staff trained up in the latest developments.

The practice said in a statement on their website: "All prescription requests, samples or hospital letters should be put into the grey box outside the main doors on the left.

"All prescriptions must be sent to a pharmacy, please make sure you mark which pharmacy you would like your prescription to go to as you will not be able to pick these up from the surgery.

"We will also be posting out sample bottles/swabs which the GP/nurse have requested and also any letters requested."

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