A north-east medical practice is to close next month after the NHS failed to attract new doctors to the area.
The future of Banff and Gamrie Medical Practice had been in doubt since last September when the Press and Journal revealed local people were being forced to travel 10 miles to visit their nearest doctor.
The facility had been closed – temporarily at the time – because of the departure of a GP.
But now, after months of talks and efforts to bring in new staff, NHS Grampian has announced that all patients will be transferred to doctors at Macduff Medical Practice.
The transfer is expected to take place from April 13 onwards.
Primary care development manager Jean Pirie branded the move “positive” for local people.
She added: “We see this as a positive step, because this practice merger will secure the future of primary care medical services in the area.
“There may be some changes for the Banff and Gamrie practice population, but we hope that the benefit of a safe, robust service will outweigh concerns.”
Two public events have been planned to detail the switch for existing patients.
One will be held on March 16 at the public hall in Gardenstown between 3pm and 6pm.
Another is planned for March 17 at the Buchan Hall in Macduff, between 3pm and 7pm.
Members of NHS Grampian’s management team will be on hand to answer questions.
Gamrie councillor Hamish Partridge said he still had questions about the future of his local medical centre.
He said: “It is concerning, but also reassuring that people can access medical advice and a medical service at the moment.
“I still have concerns over the medical practice in Gardenstown and would like to see that used in some way for people who are less able to travel or are older and vulnerable.”
Last night, a spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said no decision had yet been made on the long-term future of the medical practice’s premises.