Funding row fear for island GPs

DOCTORS on a Scottish island have claimed services are at risk due to plans to remove funding for three GPs.

Dr Malcolm Kerr, a GP in Brodick on Arran, said they had been told funding for three salaried GPs based at Arran War Memorial Hospital was being withdrawn in July.

He said this followed more than nine months of discussions over the provision of out-of-hours cover, which eventually resulted in the local GP collective - Arran Medical Group -having to pass responsibility for this service back to the health board.

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This led to the proposed reductions in funding required to provide this cover.

But yesterday NHS Ayrshire and Arran said it could not instruct the Arran Health Group to make salaried GPs redundant, saying the decision would be the collective's.

Dr Kerr, along with five other GPs, has issued a statement outlining their concerns about services on Arran with claims the island may be left without proper medical cover during the busy summer period when the population quadruples from 5,000 to 20,000. They said: "These are very worrying developments for ourselves, our families, for our staff, for the island, and potentially for the Arran economy."

NHS Ayrshire and Arran primary care director Jim Crichton said: "We are disappointed we have been unable to reach agreement with Arran Health Group, but would like to reassure people that safe, sustainable health services around the clock are our priority, and we will continue to ask them to be involved in this work."