A CRISIS-HIT surgery has been left without a doctor three days a week as health chiefs have failed to recruit a new GP.
Residents in Ratho have been faced with waits of more than three weeks for appointments as the tiny surgery in Baird Road struggles to cope with demand after losing its permanent doctor last year.
Now the health board has admitted that a long-term locum who was identified for the role had decided not to take up the post, leaving the surgery with just one part-time doctor.
Ratho resident Mitch Melling said the situation was “horrific” after his wife was told she would have to wait three weeks for an appointment.
Mr Melling, 40, who works in finance, said: “My wife rang up as she wanted to pick up a prescription. They said she couldn’t be seen until June 15 and there would not be a doctor in the surgery for three days this week.”
He added: “The problem in Ratho is only going to get worse as they are building so many new houses. This situation is an outrage and it shouldn’t be happening.”
NHS Lothian submitted plans for a new purpose-built medical centre, in Wilkieston Road, in April but concerns have been raised over what will be done until the new surgery opens next year.
Judy Wightman, chairwoman of Ratho and District Community Council, said: “We were told that we were getting a locum doctor starting at the beginning of May. Unfortunately that seems to have not worked out and we appear to have gone back to where we were before.”
NHS Lothian has apologised for the disruption but said recruitment was under way for a new permanent GP at the practice.
David White, assistant general manager for Edinburgh Community Health Partnership, said: “I’d like to apologise again for the disruption at Ratho surgery. We understand how frustrating and unsettling this has been for patients.”
The surgery has a part-time doctor who is currently working two days a week but will take on extra shifts from July 1.
He added: “Anyone who requires a GP appointment urgently will always be seen.”
The news comes amid reports of a GP “recruitment crisis” – more than 2000 patients were forced to switch GP last month after Leith Links Medical Centre failed to replace three GPs who had left.