Until now worried locals had to travel all the way to a clinic in Dumfries to have the tests that would either confirm their fears of melanoma or put their minds at rest.
Now the social care charity Turning Point Scotland has completed an 18-month fundraising effort to give our area’s GPs access to a hand-held Dermalite machine in Castle Douglas which allows them to diagnose melanoma and other skin cancers at a surgery appointment.
This is much quicker than a patient waiting for a clinic appointment so can speed up access to treatment by weeks or possibly months.
A spokesperson for the charity said at the handover of the equipment at Castle Douglas Health Centre: “Normally people would have to travel to Dumfries for initial diagnosis.
“However, money raised to buy the Dermlite machine will reduce the distance and logistics of travelling for those further away from Dumfries.
“Turning Point Scotland has been providing support to people with learning disabilities and autism in Dumfries and Galloway for 20 years.
“Staff, people being supported, friends and families organised and attended a series of discos to raise the funds to celebrate key dates in the year like Easter and Hallowe’en.”
The driving force in organising these events was Kate Kirkpatrick, Lead Practitioner in Castle Douglas services, and Janice McCulloch, the service coordinator.
A justly proud Turning Point Scotland service manager for the region, Angela Cameron said this week: ‘We are delighted to be able to make this contribution to communities living in Galloway to hopefully save lives by speeding up treatment and reduce the anxiety of a melanoma diagnosis. People we support and staff have gone the extra mile to raise the money and it’s great to see their efforts finally come to fruition.
“They are rightly proud of what they have achieved and as Turning Point Scotland approaches its 20th anniversary it is a great example of what we try to achieve every day, not just improving lives for the people we are supporting, but for all the people of the region.
“We pride ourselves on promoting Turning Point Scotland’s Citizenship approach which is the belief that people with learning disabilities or autism have a hugely positive part to play in the community - and this is a great example of that.”