THE practice manager at Largs Medical Group says staff have been 'bombarded' by abuse - and claimed GP surgeries have been 'vilified online'.

Kirstin McKellar, who took over at Brooksby in March last year, admits the negativity has taken its toll on her staff.

Ms McKellar previously managed services throughout Scotland for children who were at risk of inheriting genetic disorders - but says nothing could have prepared her for her new role.

She said: “I must acknowledge the exceptional hard work and support of all the staff within our group, whether admin, GP, nursing or our multi-disciplinary team.

“Over the course of many years, national media has systemically vilified GPs and GP practices and this rhetoric has then infiltrated into social media.

“On a daily basis, LMG admin staff and GPs are accused of not doing any work, refusing to see patients and of being obstructive.

“Understandably, this constant bombardment of negativity and criticism has a profound effect upon the mental wellbeing of all persons involved. We are all human and have feelings and emotions.

“The admin staff are often those who are taking the brunt of this behaviour when they inform patients there are no appointments left, however the GPs are not immune either."

Practice GP Dr Colin Jamieson recently revealed he had considered quitting due to the burnout he faced in his role.

Ms McKellar says the practice supported him every step of the way as he was forced to make changes to cope.

She explained: “Dr Jamieson was recently interviewed around systems pressures within GP practices.

“He spoke candidly about how issues such as recruitment and retention of GPs and managing demand for appointments with no capacity had a profound effect on his mental wellbeing.

“Dr Jamieson has been exceptionally brave in acknowledging that difficulties outwith his control had such an impact upon him. He required to make changes to his work life balance.

“These were changes all at Largs Medical Group fully supported.”

Ms McKellar says she wants to make sure the practice communicates better with patients who feel they are not getting the service they should.

She added: “My aim for the patients of LMG is to provide the right care, from the right person at the right time, using innovative practices.

“To achieve this we will work together with our community in Largs and Fairlie to provide the highest quality, professional healthcare.

“We have also developed a new website and are utilising Facebook and Twitter to improve communication.

“I would like to thank our patients for your continued support and understanding."