There are fears patients at an array of Aberdeen medical centres may suffer if one of the city’s biggest practices folds.
Sources close to the Old Aberdeen surgery – where all nine GPs have now resigned in reaction to a planned management shake-up – say it is “on the brink of collapse”.
That could leave thousands of patients in need of a new practice, putting pressure on neighbouring centres that are understood to be already close to capacity.
At the start of this week only one part-time medic remained at Old Aberdeen – but now they too have quit.
It completes a tumultuous month for the Sunnybank Road practice, previously described as a happy workplace providing the doctors with “a job they loved”.
Last night, an Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership spokesman moved to reassure patients, saying: “We are working hard on solutions to make sure services are maintained for patients and that the practice team is fully supported.
“The partnership is looking to bring in additional GPs to the practice through recruitment to vacancies, enlisting locum doctors and securing GP sessions from other practices.
“We are also working with the practice to identify the extra multi-disciplinary team capacity, including increasing the nursing teams as well as additional pharmacy, physiotherapy, and mental health practitioner support for patients.”
Old Aberdeen – along with Camphill, Carden, Marywell, Torry and Whinhill – is among a minority of Scottish medical practices, in that it run by the local authorities – in this case through the ACHSCP.
Most of the city’s doctor surgeries are run by GPs as businesses and contracted by the NHS, as is the case across the country.
However, while the other five – where unions say staff are also concerned for their jobs – are either smaller or only managed by public authorities due to previous crises, Old Aberdeen staff believe the huge practice, one of the city’s largest with close to 11,000 patients, is a special case.
Around 8,000 students from nearby Aberdeen University are on its books, while some of the other 3,000 are from socially deprived areas.
A source close to the practice said: “ACHSCP have gone into this totally blinkered – it’s not good for patients.
“It’s a serious situation, risking it like this. It would not take much to knock out the practice or others neighbouring it where patients might be sent.
“It is hard enough to find a locum GP to cover sick leave, never mind finding enough to run the practice.
“This will be a disaster for the other medical practices nearby, who are mostly full and will be expected to take on Old Aberdeen’s patients.”
The source claimed it was still not to late to save the practice loved by its local patients, with as many as five of the outgoing doctors yet to secure other jobs.
But it is understood that would only happen if there was a U-turn.