A Banff medical practice will be forced to close its doors in six months, forcing thousands of patients to seek new care.
The Deveron Medical Practice – which has 6,300 patients – will end its contract with NHS Grampian next year.
It has been struggling to attract new GPs for some time, with the centre forced to rely heavily on locums to deliver the service.
But after admitting defeat in efforts to recruit a fulltime GP, the doctors at the Fife Street health centre have decided they will end their deal with the health board in April.
It is the latest blow for beleagured communities in the Grampian area, where numerous practices have disappeared in the midst of a national recruitment crisis.
Local politicians have called for swift Scottish Government intervention to address the problem, which is deepening as doctors complain of pressure to improve services despite already working at capacity.
Last night, Mark Simpson from the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership said the Banff practice would continue to operate as normal for the next six months.
And he said there was no need for patients to take immediate action to register with another medical centre.
Mr Simpson added: “The Deveron Medical Practice in Banff has unfortunately, like many others across the country, found itself in the position of being unable to recruit a new full-time GP.
“As a result, the doctors have made the difficult decision to hand back their contract to us.
“I appreciate this is an uncertain time for those registered with the practice.
“Deveron Medical Practice will, however, continue as normal over the next six months and there is no need for patients to change their practice at this time.”
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson wants talks with health secretary Jean Freeman on the issue.
He said: “This decision by Deveron Medical Practice will be causing uncertainty for those in the Banff and Macduff areas who are registered with the practice.
“People will understandably be very keen to know what steps are being taken to ensure continuing access to primary care.”
“I have requested a meeting with the Health Secretary as a matter of urgency to discuss not only the immediate concerns, but also longer term solutions to the GP recruitment challenges we are experiencing in the north of Aberdeenshire.”
David Duguid, MP for Banff and Buchan, said: “This will undoubtedly come as very worrying news for the thousands of patients registered with the Deveron Medical Practice.
“Unfortunately, this is happening all too often, both here in Banff and Buchan but also across Grampian and in other parts of Scotland. There are simply not enough family doctors.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said a new GP contract has been negotiated to stabilise income, reduce workload and improve patient care.
He added: “This year we are investing £850,000 in increased support to expand the remote and rural incentive scheme and reloation funds from 44 to 160 rural GP practices.”