More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for controversial changes to an Aberdeen medical practice to be halted before bosses sign on the dotted line.
Late last year, all nine doctors at Old Aberdeen Medical Practice resigned over the proposals to find a privately-run company to run the surgery.
A decision looms on the short-term fix being put forward by city health bosses, designed to cover the gaps now beginning to be left by departing GPs.
The surgery serves around 3,000 people from Old Aberdeen, Seaton, Tillydrone and Rosemount, as well as approximately 8,000 students.
GPs have raised concern its collapse – which the impending agreement is aimed at preventing – would have a significant impact on practices across Aberdeen.
Health bosses will this month agree a service level agreement – a temporary stop gap to see the Sunnybank Road practice through until a permanent tender can be awarded.
But last night, a 1,030 signature petition, organised by the Save Old Aberdeen Medical Practice campaign group, was put to Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP).
And protest at the move – which has previously prompted calls, including from government colleagues, for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to intervene – has now been taken to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).
One of the doctors, ending a long stint at Old Aberdeen, urged the watchdog to investigate the decision to put the practice – and five others in the city – out to tender.
Those attempts have been “frustrated”, according to campaigner Jonathan Juel-Beer, by the need for a complaint to be made locally first.
But he warned: “Time is now extremely tight. Immediate action is necessary to halt the signing of the service level agreement.”
An SPSO spokeswoman told The P&J she could not comment on individual cases and reiterated that complaints must first be considered locally.
Doctors ending long stints at Old Aberdeen have aired fears regarding who could be in line to take over.
An ACHSCP spokesman said: “Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership is determined to improve and enhance GP services across the city, including at Old Aberdeen Medical Practice.
“There will be no diminution of services at Old Aberdeen.
“Patients can be assured that they will continue receive their primary care services at the practice and will have easier access to a broad range of services with the establishment of a multi-disciplinary team there.
“The GP services are not being privatised but are being brought into line with the way in which the vast majority of practices in Scotland are managed – by the GPs themselves.”