A MEDICAL practice with 4000 patients under its charge is to close its doors for the final time this week after its partners resigned amid an on-going struggle to recruit new staff.
Inverleith Medical Practice will shut on Friday following a scramble to transfer its thousands of patients to new centres across the Capital.
The closure comes nearly three months after the practice’s GP partners, Dr Peter Stewart and Dr Max Inwood, resigned citing personal circumstances and trouble hiring new GPs.
It has prompted fresh calls for action to support the city’s health professionals amid ongoing concern over the pressure of increasing demand on primary services.
Hal Osler, Lib Dem councillor for Inverleith ward, said the closure could lead to problems if more people move into the area, adding it highlighted the wider issue of GP recruitment.
She said: “They couldn’t attract people to take it on – why is that happening? They [the GPs] work extremely hard – it’s lacking that support. These are very dedicated individuals.
“If you speak to any GP they’ll say it’s harder and harder to go out and see people, they have less and less time.
“This isn’t just happening in Inverleith, this is happening across the country – there are gaps all over the place.
“I really hope our new administration does have a look at these things otherwise we are just going to be passing on more problems to the future and we need to stop doing that.”
News of the closure was met with widespread disappointment from the local community, with a petition later launched in a last ditch effort to save it from shutting.
All of the surgery’s 4000 patients have now been transferred to different practices.
However Tory MSP Miles Briggs, who lobbied against the closure, said: “While I understand that all patients have now been transferred to other surgeries in the area, the closure of the Inverleith Practice obviously means extra pressure and demands will be put on these neighbouring practices in north Edinburgh.
“NHS Lothian will need to monitor this and be ready to provide extra support to these surgeries to allow them to provide services to additional patients.
“In areas like Lothian where the population is growing and demand for services is rising, with many surgeries already struggling to meet the needs of existing patients, we need more GPs and GP practices and not fewer. The SNP government should be doing far more to develop innovative solutions to recruit and retain GPs in Scotland and the Scottish Conservatives will continue to press the SNP to invest in our vital primary care services.”
Rob McCulloch-Graham, joint director of Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Staff at Inverleith Medical Practice have worked closely with NHS Lothian and Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership over recent weeks to ensure the smoothest possible transition for patients and that patients continue to receive safe, effective and timely care.”