The staffing crisis at an Angus health centre is symptomatic of a national problem, one politician has claimed.
NHS Tayside took over Brechin Health Centre in October and closed the GP ward at the town’s infirmary to bolster cover.
But the board has pulled the plug on open sessions due to a further decline in numbers and a lack of locum cover.
North East MSP Liam Kerr said the NHS Tayside move is the latest in a series of “worrying” moves by the health board which has exposed a “postcode lottery” for health across the region.
But the Scottish Government has defended its record in training and providing GPs.
The Scottish Conservative said: “A patient survey last month exposed a postcode lottery across the region in terms of accessing a family doctor, we have been told there will be no births at Montrose Maternity Unit until September and now we have further staffing problems in Brechin.
“These are all local symptoms of a national problem, however, and we need to see some action from the Scottish Government.
“The country is facing a retirement time bomb with as many as one third of GPs retiring in the next five years and a shortage of new entrants.
“The Scottish Conservatives have called for a cross-party strategic plan to secure our NHS, including a new model for primary care which attracts new GPs and keeps them in post.”
Mairi Evans, the SNP MSP for North Angus and Mearns, previously said she will meet health board chairman John Connell and representatives of Angus Community Health Partnership to discuss the crisis “immediately”.
Ms Evans said Brechin’s latest development comes against a background of issues with Montrose Maternity Unit, doubts over a future for the Mulberry centre for mental health at Stracathro, and fluctuating opening hours at minor injuries units.
A Scottish Government spokesman said Holyrood is “aware” of the temporary arrangments in place at Brechin.
He added: “This government is committed to making sure our NHS is equipped for the future that’s why we are increasing the NHS revenue budget by £500 million more than inflation by the end of this parliament.
“While Scotland continues to have the highest number of GPs per patient in the UK, we remain determined to transform primary care and GP services.
“Last year we confirmed an extra 100 GP training places and an increase in our support for schemes that bring experienced GPs back into the health service.
“We have also allocated £20m over the next year to ease some of the immediate challenges facing the workforce.”