Bonnyrigg surgery’s ‘bursting at seams’

Cllr Derek Milligan  outside the practice
Cllr Derek Milligan outside the practice

Quarryfoot Medical Practice in Bonnyrigg Health Centre is no longer taking on new patients, as it struggles to fill GP vacancies at the surgery.

The NHS insisted the move is a temporary measure due to the recruitment difficulties, adding that relatives of existing patients can still register.

Local councillor Derek Milligan (Lab) is furious at this announcement.

He said: “This is a worrying development, already we have seen several Midlothian GP practices forced to close their services to new patients and others doing away with appointments instead relying on phone consultations.

“Local residents are becoming increasingly alarmed that it sometimes seems impossible to get an appointment to see a doctor and staff at surgeries are becoming the target for disgruntled patients becoming more frustrated as the GPs services continues to struggle to cope.

“This shambles is a direct result of the Scottish government’s failure to address the fact there are more GPs retiring or giving up general practice than training to go into local GP practices.

“Patients need to start asking their MSPs what the heck they are doing to resolve this disintegrating shambles and demand to know from their MSPs when the Scottish government will start to address the shortage of GPs serving our communities.”

The Scottish Government disagreed with these comments and pointed out the investment it has made in health.

Responding to Councillor Milligan’s comments about the SNP government, Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The Scottish Government is determined go on supporting and sustaining Scottish general practice. Spending on GP services has increased by £88.7 million or nearly 13 per cent. The difficulty in recruiting GPs is not an issue unique to Scotland, but this government’s investment in primary care has seen the number of GPs increase by seven per cent. There are now more GPs per head of population in Scotland than in England. ”

Professor Alex McMahon, of NHS Lothian, said: “GP Practices in NHS Lothian are working hard to maintain access for patients, but practices can put temporary restrictions in place to allow them to cope with pressures to ensure their service remains both safe and effective. The decision was not taken lightly and it arose due to difficulties in recruiting GPs following vacancies within the practice.”