GP shortage leaves rising number of Scottish practices run by health boards

A GP practice in Tayside is set to become the latest to be run directly by a Scottish health board after partners quit and were unable to recruit anyone to replace them.

GP practice: rising number taken over by Scottish health boards (Photo: Geoff Franklin)
GP practice: rising number taken over by Scottish health boards (Photo: Geoff Franklin)

Figures released by a political party suggest around 42 practices - around one in 25 of all Scottish practices - are already run by health boards.

Current partners at the Brechin Medical Centre in Tayside are dissolving their partnership, and have been forced to ask the area's health board to take over the service.

NHS Tayside plans to recruit a team of salaried GPs to run the practice, but admitted the partners had struggled to recruit 'due to a national GP shortage'. The health board will take over the practice from 1 October.

Dr Michelle Watts, primary care services associate medical director for NHS Tayside, said: 'Work is already underway to recruit a team of salaried GPs for Brechin who will be employed by NHS Tayside and will work with the existing team from the Brechin premises.

GP services

'We aim to continue to deliver a range of healthcare services from the practice and we will do our very best to ensure continuity of care for all patients.

'Patients will remain registered with Brechin Medical Practice after 1 October 2015 and there is no need for them to take any further action. Patients will continue to access GP and primary care services at the practice as they do now.'

Practice manager Fiona Robertson said: 'We recently introduced a new appointment system to help patients access our services whilst we undergo this period of change.

'The system is working well and has reduced the number of appointments wasted due to patients not attending.'

Dr Watts added: 'We will also take the opportunity to look at new ways of delivering care to the locality including the development of named multi-professional teams working in the community to support people with health needs.

'This community-based model of care for elderly patients involves a variety of health professionals including consultants, pharmacists, physiotherapists and nurses working together as a single team in partnership with social care and voluntary sector colleagues to support individual patients.'

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