A north-east woman has raised serious concerns about the future of healthcare in her village.
Susan Neal fears NHS Grampian is abandoning Cuminestown after it was announced the current medical centre will be subsumed by a practice in Turriff – five miles away.
The 68-year-old last night said she and her husband Graham who have both had recent surgeries, felt let down by the health service.
She said: “There are a lot of people in the village who are elderly, or even young ones who do not have their own transport.
“The public transport isn’t frequent and when you got to the doctors it’s general because there’s something wrong with you.
“I do think we’ve been abandoned. We’ve lived here nine years – they closed the post office a few years ago and now the health centre’s at risk.”
Mrs Neal is currently on crutches after her operation, while her 72-year-old husband recently had a pacemaker fitted.
They pair have been forced to rely on a neighbour for transport, and say they would struggle to travel to Turriff for check-ups at the doctors.
NHS Grampian have made it clear that the Cuminestown surgery will remain open as a branch of Turriff Medical Practice, but have not confirmed opening times or available treatments.
Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has contacted NHS Grampian on behalf of several constituents.
“I am aware there are a number of vacancies at the practice as a result of the difficulty in recruiting GPs to come to this part of the world,” she said.
Earlier this year, similar concerns were raised after Haddo Medical Group closed its satellite surgery in Tarves and went part-time in Methlick – leaving just its main surgery at Pitmedden full-time.
The move came after a long-running battle over local dispensing services.
Last night a spokesman for NHS Grampian said the decision to run Cuminestown Surgery as a branch of Turriff Medical Practice was made “following careful consideration”.
He said: “Letters informing patients of the changes have now been issued to all patients and we will also hold a drop-in meeting in Cuminestown in the near future to offer people the opportunity to ask any questions they have.”