Over 10% of north-east Scotland’s practices closed in a decade

As reported by Press and Journal, the north-east of Scotland has lost over a tenth of its GP surgeries in the last 10 years

Over a tenth of GP surgeries in the north-east of Scotland have had to close in the past decade.

New data, published by Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, have been branded “stark”.

They show that surgeries in the NHS Grampian area have dropped 13%, from 84 in 2008 to 73 in 2018.

Across the entirety of Scotland, the figure is lower – eight per cent – but still concerning.

Health bosses in the area are currently attempting to recruit 13 GPs to fill the gaps as more practices close, displacing patients and putting more pressure on remaining surgeries.

A new three-year action plan has been created by the Aberdeen Health and Social Partnership, which aims to make better use of technology and collaboration to take the strain off GPs. The plan was drafted in August 2018.

Later in the year, health secretary Jane Freeman announced national plans to increase the numbers of GPs by at least 800 over the next 10 years.

Macdonald is now urging Scottish residents – particularly those in the north-east – to take part in the ‘what does primary care look like for the next generation?‘ inquiry on the Scottish Parliament website.

He said: “While this is a national issue, the decline in the number of practices in Grampian, the Highlands and islands has been particularly stark.

“The committee is now undertaking a major inquiry where we are asking people what they think the next 30 years should be and have had more than 1,000 responses from the public so far.”

Independent Aberdeen Donside MSP, Mark McDonald, argued that the perception of a GP’s life had to be improved too.

He added: “The first approach has to be to put the funding in place for training, but there is also an issue that being a GP has to be sold as an attractive proposition for those training to be doctors.

“This isn’t a problem that has crept up on us, there has long been an issue around the age profile of GPs.

“The role used to be more male and full time and is now more female and part time, which I am not saying is a bad thing, but we need to ensure there is continuity.”

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