Health bosses have vowed to keep a north-east GP surgery open, despite a serious recruitment crisis in the area.
Last week, patients at Northfield and Mastrick Medical Practice received a letter informing them of a shake-up of services at the surgery.
NHS Grampian managers argued that a number of resignations, combined with a national recruitment crisis, had forced them to consider the long-term future of the facility.
The exact nature of the changes were not made clear, but the health body previously refused to rule out closing the surgery, in addition to drafting in medical staff from other practices.
However, Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership, who informed patients of the situation, have now attempted to reassure the community that mothballing the practice is not on the table.
Instead, they have confirmed they are planning to make the NHS-run practice independent.
Judith Proctor, chief officer at the partnership, said: “I wish to clarify that, at no point, has the NHS board or the health and social care partnership considered closing the practice.
“We are changing the contractual framework for the practice towards it becoming an independent practice and anticipate a smooth transition toward the new arrangements being in place.”
In the letter to patients, she added: “Unfortunately, recent GP resignations, together with national and local difficulties in GP recruitment, have resulted in a challenging situation around staffing at the practice.
“However, NHS Grampian and ACHSCP are working with the remaining doctors and the wider practice team to secure clinical cover and ensure patients will continue to have access to services provided by the practice.”
Aberdeen Donside MSP, Mark McDonald, has already written to health bosses and asked for a meeting to discuss the proposals.
He previously said: “I am extremely concerned about this issue and want to work as quickly and constructively as possible with NHS Grampian and ACHSCP to find a solution for residents in Northfield and Mastrick.
“Health services are incredibly important, especially on a local level and, with so many patients reliant on services, it is vital that we explore all options possible to maintaining this facility in the community.”