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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Practices across three towns close lists amid ongoing GP shortages

Practices across three towns in North Ayrshire, Scotland, have closed their lists to new patients for a year to help relieve pressure caused by recruitment difficulties.

The Health Board and LMC made a joint decision to close lists across eight practices in the Three Towns area, West Kilbride and Kilwinning, covering 57,000 patients.

It comes after a surgery in West Kilbride was taken over by the Health Board at the beginning of August following resignations from all the doctors at the practice, leaving the town with no full-time GP.

Newborn babies, and adopted or fostered children will be able to register with their parent’s practice but people moving into the area will be not be able to choose their GP, and will have one allocated by the Health Board.

The area has struggled to recruit GPs in recent months and the LMC has been working with several practices facing difficulties.

The move ‘allows practices to anticipate the capacity of their service’, NHS Ayrshire and Arran said.

A recent report on workforce issues in North Ayrshire calculated that two newly qualified GPs are needed for every experienced doctor that retires because of young recruits opting for ‘portfolio careers’.

It pointed to high levels of high levels of stress among remaining GPs because of pressures caused by recruitment and retention issues.

Eddie Fraser, director of East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: ‘Some GP practices within the North Ayrshire area have experienced recruitment difficulties following the retirement and resignation of some GPs.

‘To help reduce pressure on practices while they recruit GPs, we have agreed with the LMC and with the practices themselves, that they maintain their current practice list.’

He added: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

‘However, this process will ensure our GP practices continue to provide a full and robust general practitioner service to their patients.’

Dr Chris Black, joint secretary of Ayrshire and Arran LMC, said a number of practices in the areas affected had been having difficulties.

‘We wanted to find a solution that would bring stability to the region and reduce the burden of new patient registrations.’

He said they discussed a range of options with the health board but this was only step they could take within the regulations.

‘This is a unique situation with a group of practices who have shared boundaries,’ he added.

‘Practices are just trying to find ways to deal with the day to day pressures they are facing.’

Pic credit: Flikr; SeaDave

Readers' comments (8)

  • Crisis, what crisis, of course there is no crisis. We've put billions more into the NHS (cynicism mode off)

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  • Where's wee Nicola & her sidekick Shona when you need them?

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  • The lights are going out in N Ireland, Wales, Scotland and many English regions. Nighty night..
    By the time the U.K. wakes up from this nightmare Primary Care will be in a coma.

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  • Nothing to see here, armies of Noctors, phoctors and paradoctors on the way, wish I'd known 3 years at the local tec would suffice before went to med school

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    That is not helpful - closing a list is pointless where relatives are allowed to join, and any newcomers will be allocated anyway.

    The reality is when people will be left with no healthcare provision then the worm will either turn or die.

    Overworked practices which are at the point of breaking and unable to provide safe care will be flooded with more patients as others collapse around them, and eventually serious harm will occur as you can't be in 3 places at the same time.

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  • Charges for appointments would reduce workload and increase Practice income, making the service sustainable.

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  • This is nonsense......lists are closed but patients will just be allocated instead.....end result the same.....rising lists for those GPS that remain, resulting in increased workload and stress, but no extra Doctors....crazy

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  • I thought the new models are to take over when the Boards become the list holders.
    GP at scale provided by armies of health workers warehouse type scenario and on Skype. Some CCGs already have half population with no trad GP.

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