Edinburgh GP Southside Surgery saved from closure

Southside Surgery in Newington. Picture; Greg Macvean

Southside Surgery in Newington. Picture; Greg Macvean

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A THREAT hanging over thousands of patients that they would have to find a new GP has been lifted after health chiefs found a new base for their doctors.

The Southside Surgery in Newington warned last summer that its current premises would have to be sold this year because they were part-owned by two GPs who had retired and unless a new home could be found the practice could be closed and patients dispersed.

Denise Palmer who has collected 1000-plus names on a petition to save under-threat Southside surgery. 
 Picture Ian Rutherford

Denise Palmer who has collected 1000-plus names on a petition to save under-threat Southside surgery. Picture Ian Rutherford

A campaign was launched to stop the closure and over 1200 names collected on a petition.

Now NHS Lothian has announced the Southside Surgery will be relocated to the Conan Doyle medical centre at Cameron Toll in May or June.

Patient Denise Palmer, who organised the petition, welcomed the news.

She said: “It’s such a relief – and it’s going to be a big relief for a lot of patients. They will be so pleased they can stay with the practice and the 
doctors and staff they know. There are a lot of elderly people and you can only imagine how they were feeling – a doctor is a big part of your life, they know so much about you, and it’s a trust thing as well.”

Space is available at the Conan Doyle medical centre – purpose-built premises opened in 2007 – because a community dental practice is moving out.

Ms Palmer said: “It’s not on the doorstep, but there is an excellent bus service and also a car park. And it’s a lovely, big, airy place.”

There are around 5000 patients registered with the Southside Surgery. All the doctors and other staff will transfer to the new base.

Moira Purdie, practice manager, said: “We’re very relieved and we feel we can start to plan for the future.”

Scottish Tory leader and Edinburgh Central MSP Ruth Davidson said: “People across the Southside have rightly been concerned about the future of their surgery.

“I am pleased alternative premises have been found.”

And Lothian Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “This is good news for Southside residents who will be pleased and relieved that a new premises has been secured to house their much-valued GP practice.

“GP services across Edinburgh and Lothian continue to face very real capacity issues and I will continue to press the Scottish Government to do more to boost GP recruitment and support NHS Lothian to deal with the challenges of meeting demand for primary care services.”

Rob McCulloch Graham, chief officer, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into finding a solution that will secure the future of this important practice.

“I would like to thank patients and staff for their patience during this period and to reassure them that the facilities being provided within the Conan Doyle medical centre will be a significant improvement on the current premises.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com