Closure of Inverleith Medical Practice left 4,000 looking for a GP

43 Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5PY served as a surgery. Google Maps
43 Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5PY served as a surgery. Google Maps

Mother-of-one Alex Burford from Craigleith, Edinburgh, has recently moved GP surgery after her local Inverleith Medical Practice which served 4,000 patients closed in June.

The patients faced an anxious wait after receiving a letter telling them the practice would close in less than three months, as health bosses at NHS Lothian scrambled to put in place alternative arrangements.

Alex Burford is very unhappy that Inverleith Medical Centre is closing.

 Picture; Neil Hanna

Alex Burford is very unhappy that Inverleith Medical Centre is closing. Picture; Neil Hanna

Ms Burford said it was a “worrying time” after phoning ten local surgeries and being told she was either out of the catchment area or they weren’t taking on any new patients.

She secured a place at a nearby practice after contacting NHS Lothian.

She said: “We got a place with another GP eventually, I was worried that it would be further away but actually it was a similar distance.

“I had phoned and asked if they were taking on any new patients and they had said no but the health board in the end had to place around 4,000 of us who were from Inverleith. I think around 900 former Inverleith Medical Practice patients ended up going to a practice in Stockbridge.

“Thankfully, I haven’t had a reason to call the practice yet since we’ve been placed.

“It was a worrying time, it’s your GP practice, I’ve got a young daughter and you want to know that you’re still going to have access to a doctor in your local area and you will be able to get appointments.

“That’s what everyone wants and the worry was with all the local practices saying they didn’t have capacity to take on more patients and you know there are 4,000 that have to be placed somewhere. I don’t know if they’ve taken on any more GPs or the existing ones just had to 
‘put up and shut up’. You 
don’t know when and how you’re going to be able to access the service – everyone’s feeling the same. That’s why A&E waiting rooms are filled with people who don’t necessarily need to be in hospital and are there because they can’t get appointments with GPs.”