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GP SHORTAGE TAKING ITS TOLL AS MORE PRACTICES CLOSE THEIR DOORS ACROSS AYRSHIRE

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has raised concerns over the growing GP crisis across Ayrshire as a recent Freedom of Information request has shown two new practices have been forced to restrict the number of patients registering with them.

GP surgeries, ‘Templehill Surgery’ in Troon and ‘Drs McHattie, McGregor and Holland’ also based in Troon have full patients lists and are only accepting patients registering if they lived out with the area and have recently moved in.

Across NHS Ayrshire and Arran 10 surgeries have either completely closed their patient lists or have placed restrictions on new patients registering.

Every NHS board in Scotland is obliged to provide a patient with a GP, however the restrictions can apply to choice and can mean people do not have access to a doctor in their nearest area.

According to NHS Ayrshire and Arran recruitment website there are currently 10 GP vacancies including in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine further highlighting the recruitment crisis in the area.

The GP crisis is nothing new to the area as cuts to training places which the SNP implemented back in 2011 are taking its toll on services in Ayrshire and Arran due to a  shortage of GPs.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The GP crisis facing Ayrshire and Arran is continuing unabated. The fact GP surgeries are having to restrict their lists to only allowing new patients if they have moved into the area simply highlights how this is impacting on patients. It is the legacy of the Scottish Government failing to train enough doctors over the past decade and the added burdens placed on GPs which made the role unattractive for many new graduates. This is just the tip of the iceberg with many other GPs struggling to cope with any additions to their patients lists and GP vacancies the length and breadth of Ayrshire and Arran."

“I know GP practices across the region are working hard to maintain access for patients and had it not been for the good will of GPs often working beyond the call of duty, far more would be forced to close their lists. Those who have had to restrict their lists only did so as a very last resort. It simply illustrates that the action the Government are taking to tackle the GP crisis is simply not good enough.”

“This is not a new problem though. There have been warning signs from medical specialists and local communities to the Government for years. The SNP Government were warned back in 2011 that once it had cut funding to training places it would have a knock-on effect for patients. We are now seeing the full effects of these cuts.”

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