Warnings of ‘GP crisis’ as one of Aberdeen’s largest GP surgeries to shut its doors

One of Aberdeen’s largest GP surgeries is to close due to staffing difficulties – prompting fears of a “growing GP crisis” across the north-east.

Rosemount Medical Group – which has around 4,500 patients – will close in January.

Two doctors plan to retire and the team have been unable to recruit anyone to fill the void.

It is the latest in a string of GP practices across the city to run into staffing difficulties, after uncertainty at Torry Medical Practice and Brimmond Medical Group.

Last night, North East Labour MSP Lewis McDonald – who is a patient at Rosemount Medical Group – demanded action from the Scottish Government.

He said: “The closure reflects the growing GP crisis in Aberdeen and across Scotland.

“Within Aberdeen alone, GPs have pulled out of general medical services contracts in Bucksburn and in Torry, while other practices like Northfield and Mastrick have faced real difficulties maintaining levels of service.

“Despite numerous warnings from the medical profession the Scottish Government has failed to address the growing crisis in primary care.”

Conservative North East MSP Tom Mason, who is also a councillor for Rosemount, said: “The decision by the practice to withdraw from the contract will be deeply unsettling for the thousands of patients in the local area.

“This is yet another example of the staffing crisis in our local NHS.”

A Scottish Government spokesman admitted Grampian faces “complex challenges” but insisted efforts were being made to recruit locally and nationally.

“The challenges faced by the north-east include recruiting and retaining GPs and clinical staff,” he said.

“To address this, we are increasing NHS Grampian’s budget by more than £315million and are delivering an increase of more than 800 staff.”

Recruitment of public sector staff has long been a challenge in the north-east, with even high paid GPs reluctant to move to the area.

Helen Gregory, the principal GP of Rosemount Medical Group, said: “The partners and staff have enjoyed caring for our patients and their families over the years and so this has been an extremely difficult decision for us.

“Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position of not being able to recruit to GP vacancies and we have two GP retirements in the near future.

“We wish to assure our patients that we will continue to provide high quality care for them until the end of January next year and we thank them for their loyalty.”

Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership’s interim chief officer Sally Shaw said: “Like many practices across the country, Rosemount Medical Group has found it challenging to maintain a full practice team. The doctors have now made the difficult decision to end their contract with NHS Grampian at the end of January 2019.

“GP services will continue as normal at Rosemount over the next six months. There is no need for patients to change their practice at this time.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working to ensure that all of Rosemount’s patients continue to have access to general medical services beyond January 2019.”

In January, there were fears for the future of Torry Medical Practice and its 7,500 patients after the team of doctors there withdrew from their NHS contracts. However, it is now continuing under new management.

And in 2015, 8,000 patients in Bucksburn and Dyce were told they would lose their doctor when the Brimmond Medical Group closed its doors.

The Scottish Government said the north-east faces “complex challenges” but pointed to a number of methods employed to increase recruitment, locally and nationally.

A spokesman said: “The challenges faced by the north-east include recruiting and retaining GPs and clinical staff.

“To address this, we are increasing NHS Grampian’s budget by more than £315 million and are delivering an increase of more than 800 staff.

“We recognise the need for more doctors and have taken a range of actions to increase medical undergraduate places across the country. By 2020 the intake rise by 22% from the 2015 level.

“We have also negotiated a new GP contract to stabilise income, reduce workload, and improve patient care – backed by investment of £110 million this year to ensure GPs can spend more time with patients and less time on bureaucracy.

“Across Scotland overall, health service staffing and investment are at record high levels and by the end of this parliament we will invest an additional £500 million per year in primary care and aim to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over ten years.”

 

- The Press & Journal