Clermiston GP surgery blames government and NHS for staff '˜crisis'

An under-pressure GP surgery has published a scathing open letter on its website, blaming the government and health officials for the 'crisis' facing its patients.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 8:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 9:27 am
Clermiston GP surgery is blaming government and NHS for staff crisis. Picture; PA
Clermiston GP surgery is blaming government and NHS for staff crisis. Picture; PA

Parkgrove and East Craigs Medical Practice, which operates two sites in the west of the Capital, serves 10,700 patients but says it can’t recruit sufficient staff.

The letter warns those trying to book appointments: “Due to the ongoing nationwide recruitment crisis in general practice we are unable to provide the level of service we’d like.”

It tells patients that despite numerous attempts to recruit doctors, the surgery is failing to fill positions thanks to “negative publicity from the government about the role of GPs”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

According to the letter, such publicity means that general practice medicine is no longer attractive to junior doctors, whilst senior staff are taking early retirement.

It tells patients that they should perhaps “fear for the future” of NHS GP services.

The letter also provides the personal e-mail addresses of Tim Davison, the chief executive of NHS Lothian, and Liberal Democrat Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Having met with GPs at the medical practice, I am aware of just how desperate things have got. With a third of partnerships vacant, this is a practice where GPs are working valiantly to keep up.

“Without an influx of new doctors the situation could become unsustainable. This underscores just how urgent the workforce crisis in the GP sector has become.”

The News has told of a number of GP surgeries closing their lists to new patients amid problems recruiting doctors.

George Walker, chairman of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The recruitment and retention of GPs, who are independent businesses run by GP partners, is a nationwide issue which affects every health board.

“We are working closely with local GPs and the Scottish Government to find a long-term solution to ensure that patients continue to receive safe, effective and timely care.”

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “While Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head of the population of the four UK countries, we are continuously looking at ways of transforming primary care and GP services, and this commitment has been backed by extra investment.”