Scotland is in the midst of a GP recruitment crisis, with surgeries across
the country struggling for numbers, but NHS Tayside believes it is taking positive steps to improve the situation.
Nationally, more than a quarter of GP surgeries have at least one vacancy,
increasing the pressure of those in posts, and a shortfall of 830 doctors is
predicted by 2020.
NHS Tayside had to step in to take over three practices – at Lochee and
Whitfield in Dundee and one in Brechin – where communities faced losing GP
Lochee had been left entirely without doctors but NHS Tayside chairman John
Connell said the recovery had been swift and that the practice could even act as an example for others to follow.
“We have taken over the running of three GP surgeries. Each needed our
help but is not necessarily a bad thing.
“We have been able to give these practices security, recruited new GPs
and added multi-disciplinary care.
“There is a bright future for the provision of GP services.”
Chief executive Lesley McLay is equally upbeat about GP services across
Tayside, despite the challenges that have troubled the profession.
“NHS Tayside was asked to take over the Lochee practice around six months
ago. At the time there were no GPs.
“We now have three GPs and in the near future there will be another two
GPs added to the team, bringing Lochee back up to a full complement.”
Ms McLay added: “The NHS is now running three practices out of 66 across
Tayside. That is much less than in other board areas.
“It means that the practices are struggling but it can also be an opportunity
to reshape the GP model to one that directly meets the needs of people in
“We do recognise the challenge of recruiting GPs but we are taking steps to
make the profession more attractive.
“We are working with new GPs to ensure they get any additional training
they need and we are also approaching recently retired GPs to ask them to come
back as coaches and mentors for new starts.
“We believe these steps will help us meet the challenges of providing GP
services for our communities.”