GP centre to end its contract with NHS
A PETITION has been launched after Deveron Medical Practice in Banff announced it would end its contract with NHS Grampian.
The online petition had collected more than 1400 signatures since it was launched three days ago.
The announcement comes after a number of challenges related to GP recruitment in Banff and the surrounding area including Portsoy, Aberchirder and Gardenstown in recent years.
The practice currently serves around 6000 patients and its contract will end in April next year.
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership has confirmed a six-month notice period, meaning services will continue as normal until then.
The patients affected are being advised not to register elsewhere while work to identify ways in which the service can be maintained beyond that point is under way.
It is understood there was difficulties recruiting local GPs with one of the existing partners leaving to work elsewhere in Aberdeenshire.
A spokesman for the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: "The Deveron Medical Practice in Banff has unfortunately, like many others across the country, found itself in the position of being unable to recruit a new full-time GP.
"As a result, the doctors have made the difficult decision to hand back their contract to us.
"The partnership appreciates this is an uncertain time for those registered with the practice.
"Deveron Medical Practice will, however, continue as normal over the next six months and there is no need for patients to change their practice at this time."
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has expressed his concern at the decision by Deveron Medical Practice.
He said: "This will undoubtedly come as very worrying news for the thousands of patients registered with the Deveron Medical Practice.
"Unfortunately, this is happening all too often – not just here in Banff and Buchan where we are already suffering from a shortage of GPs, but also across Grampian and in other parts of Scotland. There are simply not enough family doctors.
"I would urge my constituents who are registered with the Deveron Medical Practice to take heed of the message from the health and social care partnership not to register elsewhere in the meantime.
"Services will continue as normal for the next six months, and hopefully a solution can be found during that time to maintain the local practice.
"I will be engaging with the health and social care partnership to ensure that all options are explored to keep this essential local practice going."
Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for an urgent meeting with Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.
In a letter Mr Stevenson said the decision was attributed to the "ongoing and chronic problems" with GP recruitment in the area.
Mr Stevenson said: "This decision by Deveron Medical Practice will be causing uncertainty for those in the area who are registered with the practice.
"People will understandably be very keen to know what steps are being taken to ensure continuing access to primary care.
"I have requested a meeting with the health secretary as a matter of urgency to discuss not only the immediate concerns, but also longer-term solutions to the GP recruitment challenges we are experiencing in the north of Aberdeenshire."