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Reid argues the case for part-private NHS

Dr Mark Storey has halved the number of patients with depression who are on medication after introducing a new fast-track referral system.

The electronic system, which has been running since October, is used with a depression questionnaire to assess patients on the spot and request immediate referral to a specialist clinic.

Dr Storey, a GP in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, said: 'The secondary care team review it and contact the patient straightaway. Waiting times are down to eight days and most of that is finding a time that is suitable for the patient.'

He added that it gave him 'such a smile' to know he could do something for his patients without having to prescribe drugs.

The scheme, part of a Scottish Executive initiative, will be rolled out to all practices in West Renfrewshire, covering 100,000 patients.

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