A SCOTTISH GP practice has been forced to close, leaving hundreds of patients in the lurch – because no one fancies the job.
Kirkcaldy Medical Centre closed on Monday after NHS Fife failed to find a GP to look after the surgery’s 1637 patients.
Since the practice’s last permanent GP resigned in November, the centre had been getting run by staff on pricey temporary contracts.
The centre is the latest in a number of practises that have closed in Fife and across Scotland over the past couple of years.
Fife MSP Claire Baker told her local newspaper that part of the problem was due to GP’s not wanting to work in Fife.
She said: “As the GP crisis in Fife continues, the first concern had to be ensuring all patients found a new doctor and that all urgent and confirmed appointments are kept.
“However, this still highlights wider questions as to why Fife is continually facing issued with regards to GP services.
“We’ve had lists closed, GP surgeries taken under NHS control, and now closures.
“NHS Fife and the partnership have a duty to look after patients and we know they do a good job under trying circumstances.
“We have known for some time that we face real challenges in finding GPs to come to Fife.
“We also know that locums are more expensive and their continued use resilts in more pressures put on an already squeezed budget.
“The challenges we are facing in Fife are being replicated across the country.
“We need to see action to end the GP crisis in Fife now and I will be writing to the Health Secretary to call for this.”
Dr Seonaid McCallum, associate medical director of the Health and Social Care Partnership, who ran the service, said: “We are exploRing a range of support and also developing new models of care to offer alternative choices for patients.
“The priority has been to ensure that every patient registered at this practice has a continuity of GP service and to arrange for the safe transfer of medical records.”
Earlier this year it was revealed that one GP practice is closing every month in Scotland because of staff shortages.
More than 14 surgeries have shut since the start of last year, including five in NHS Lothian.
Other practices were said said to be on the brink of collapse as they struggle to fill vacancies and cover absence.