NHS Lothian issued warning that GP services at risk in Maybury, Shawfair and South East Edinburgh

Health chiefs in Lothian warned the Scottish Government there was a risk that GP services could not be provided in three parts of the region due to a shortage of facilities and a growing population from new housing developments.

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The "bombshell" alert was issued in October 2020, highlighting the crisis in Maybury, Shawfair and south-east Edinburgh.

But Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray says a senior official has now told him “no direct response to this has ever been received, despite numerous reminders”.

Mr Murray said the number of new homes being built in the three areas had soared since the warning was given and he accused the SNP government of “neglecting” Lothian patients.

Around 4,000 news homes are being built in south Edinburgh and the figure could soar to 8,000 by 2030, depending on planning applications.

The newly-released NHS Lothian document from October 2020 says: “These three areas are all impacted by significant population growth and limitation on the expansion of the existing GMS [General Medical Services] provision.”

It outlines three proposals: a new building in Danderhall; a new GP practice for 10,000 people in west Edinburgh; and large new premises in Liberton or Gilmerton for “both a new practice and re-provision of existing practices”.

Ian Murray has accused the Scottish Government of neglecting Lothian patients.

The document adds: “There is a high risk that without sufficient investment in healthcare facilities then NHS Lothian will fail to provide General Medical Services to the population in the three Lothian areas.”

Judith Proctor, chief officer for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, told Mr Murray’s office: “We are informed by NHS Lothian colleagues that no direct response to this has ever been received, despite numerous reminders. An enquiry was however received recently by the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, from a Scottish Government colleague in relation to population expansion in the South East (‘outer’) area.”

Mr Murray has written to Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to complain about the lack of action.

He wrote: “Ten out of 14 GP practices in my constituency are currently operating closed or restricted lists. New and existing residents in my constituency and across Edinburgh are entitled to know why the Scottish Government has thus far ignored pleas from health professionals on GMS provision.”

Mr Murray told the Evening News: “The neglect by SNP ministers is utterly shameful.

“There is a massive GP crisis in Edinburgh as this bombshell document proves, which Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon are simply ignoring.

“This should be their priority, but instead they are obsessed about their campaign for a second independence referendum. The government needs to focus on what matters to people in Edinburgh and provide the financial assistance needed to build new GP services.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Any claim that the Scottish ministers are ‘blocking’ new projects, or ‘ignored’ proposals for new facilities are simply not true.

“NHS Lothian is responsible for delivering the local services it assesses as meeting the needs of its local populations, in cooperation with local health and social care partnerships. Through this, they aim to identify the needs of patients in their areas and commissioning GP services appropriately. We have regular engagement with the board on these matters and look forward to future discussion with them.”

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