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Over 8,000 patients set to be displaced in latest GP practice closure

Over 8,000 Scottish patients could be left without a GP when their practice closes at the end of September.

GPs at the Brimmond Medical group in Aberdeen, which is due to close at the end of September, told Pulse they are increasingly concerned about the lack of progress being made to secure GP cover for its 8,300 patient list.

Substantial extra expectation from new housing developments combined with massively diminishing resourcing means that the practice has become ‘unviable’ as a business, according to practice partner Dr Malcom Valentine.

The group is closing after GPs confirmed they will cease as a partnership due to staff shortages, with the contract handed back to NHS Grampian from 1 October.

It comes as a Pulse investigation revealed that more than 160,000 patients have already been displaced by practice closures as the profession struggles under a UK-wide recruitment crisis.

Dr Valentine told Pulse that, with just three months to go before the practice closes, the future was uncertain for patients.

He said: ‘With three months to go we should be putting programmes together for chronic disease management, such as diabetes and hypertension, but we can’t plan. I have an overwhelming concern for patients as we have seen a rise in the levels of anxiety expressed by them in the last week.’

NHS Grampian said that it had undertaken a formal tendering process, that interest had been expressed in taking on the service and that patients would be informed of ‘transitional arrangements’ by 1 October.

Pulse has learned that two practices have expressed interest in taking on the Brimmond Medical Centre’s patient list but that both would need to expand their capacity first via new hires.

An NHS Grampian spokesperson said: ‘From this process, new, independent GMS services have been selected and arrangements will be put in place from the 1 October 2015 for them to take over.

‘We are still in the confidential part of the formal tendering process, and have nothing further to add at this stage.’

It comes as NHS England has put together a panel of GP providers covering the south of England to be prepared to take over at short notice should a practice unexpectedly close.