An Aberdeen medical practice has been forced to cut appointments by nearly 20 percent due to staff shortages.
Woodside Medical Group has warned patients there will be around 800 fewer GP appointments available each month from September when two doctors go on maternity leave.
In a letter sent to patients, practice bosses asks for their “cooperation” as the plan progresses – and to “not be offended” if asked by reception staff why they are making an appointment with a GP.
Practice bosses also cited the imminent closure of Brimmond Medical Group in Bucksburn, which is being forced to close because of problems recruiting medical staff in the north-east.
The Great Western Practice in Aberdeen has also urged its patients to contact the surgery only if absolutely necessary because of staff retiring and holidays.
NHS Grampian has warned it faces significant recruitment problems because of the high cost of living in the city.
Last night, a spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said the cuts at Woodside would ensure other services offered by the practice were used “appropriately”, including pharmacies, opticians and a sexual health clinic.
Patients should refer themselves to these to free up appointments.
The spokeswoman added that patients had been extremely supportive of the move.
The letter said: “We require your cooperation to ensure that patients use our services appropriately and that appointments are available to those patients who really need to be seen by a GP.”