GP practice closure due to staff shortage

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Aberdeen Press Journal

Black Isle member Craig Fraser has highlighted pressures on the Cromarty medical practice which is now heavily reliant on locum doctors and facing temporary closures, The Aberdeen Press Journal reports.

Change was enforced following a decision by its partners to hand the practice back to NHS Highland due to recruitment difficulties.

NHS Highland took on the responsibility for providing general medical services for patients registered with the local practice last month.

Since then, the board has used a mix of locum GP cover working from the practice and GPs based at Munlochy and Fortrose.

For the third time in a fortnight, the Cromarty practice will not take bookings next Monday.

Councillor Fraser said: “You could now have the ridiculous situation of a patient from Cromarty travelling by bus to, say, the North Kessock practice for an appointment.

“They may then need to get a prescription from the Fortrose pharmacy before boarding a bus back to Cromarty.

“It’s hardly ideal, especially if you’re ill.”

A spokesman for NHS Highland said: “We’ve identified locum GPs for August and most of September while we continue working towards a more sustainable service for the future.

“The service is available from 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and provided from the surgery in Cromarty. However, on two days last week and on August 14 urgent on-the-day GP appointments will be provided at Fortrose or Munlochy.

“In the meantime, all other services will be provided via the surgery at Cromarty.”

Providing cover on a short-term basis with locums and local GPs, he said, “is an interim solution to ensure general practice care is available locally for the residents of Cromarty”.

He added: “Attempts to recruit a GP to take on the practice are ongoing. There have been expressions of interest and the board is hopeful it will secure a more permanent solution in the near future.”

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