Closure of GP practice sign of ‘staff crisis’
in NHS, critics warn

Anas Sarwar hit out at the closures. Picture: John Devlin
Anas Sarwar hit out at the closures. Picture: John Devlin
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The closure of a GP surgery in Aberdeen after it was unable to fill staff vacancies has been seized upon as further evidence of the NHS “recruitment crisis”.

Rosemount Medical Group, which has around 4,500 patients, will close in January. With two of its GPs due to retire and a growing patient list, it said it has been “unable” to fill vacancies and could no longer provide a “high level of care”.

Helen Gregory, Rosemount’s principal GP, said it was an “extremely difficult decision,” and that it was working with Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership to look at alternatives.

NHS Scotland statistics show that full-time equivalent GP numbers has fallen from 3,735 in 2013 to 3,575 last year. Over the same period, the number of practices reporting a GP vacancy grew to 24 per cent, having stood at just 9 per cent five years ago.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesman, Anas Sarwar, said: “Labour has consistently warned the SNP Government that they are sleepwalking into a GP recruitment crisis which will have devastating consequences for communities across Scotland.”

Miles Briggs, his Scottish Conservatives counterpart, said: “This is simply further evidence of a staff crisis throughout our NHS created by the SNP.”

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, said that given the challenges of recruitment and retention of GPs Scotland faces, it was “vital” that work continues to ensure the role of a GP is seen as “attractive” and that the new GP contract was “built on”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The North- east faces a range of complex challenges, including 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 per cent from the 2015 level.”