NHS Tayside has launched an “in-depth review” of its handling of the Bridge of Earn surgery closure.
Health chiefs want to make sure lessons can be learned from the case, which led to more than 3,000 patients being displaced to GP practices across the region.
The announcement follows a formal complaint from Perth’s Victoria Practice in Glover Street.
Staff have written to NHS Tayside chief executive Grant Archibald, raising “extreme concern, anger and profound disappointment” about the re-allocation of patients to other services in the Fair City.
They say they are worried about patient safety and fear the move could lead to inappropriate use of out-of-hours services, putting extra strain on A&E units and paramedics.
Surgery staff told Mr Archibald the practice was “physically unable” to deal with issues over a “vast” area and asked why it had been allocated extra patients in outlying areas, with little time to challenge the decision. The letter states they have found themselves with an “unfair allocation” of patients – mainly from Abernethy and Forgandenny – with virtually none from Bridge of Earn.
Staff wrote: “This is clearly unfair and disadvantages our practice more than any other practice in Perth City.”
The position has been backed by Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith. She said: “This letter from GPs is alarming, not least because of the concerns they raise about patient safety.
“This is a completely unsatisfactory state of affairs which is the direct result of NHS Tayside’s mishandling of the whole situation surrounding the closure of the Bridge of Earn GP surgery.”
Ms Smith said she would raise the complaint with senior health service figures on Friday.
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: “Reliable GP staffing is obviously critical to running a safe practice and therefore, in an effort to try to keep GP services local to Bridge of Earn, the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and NHS Tayside offered a number of options to try to secure GP cover before the practice closed.
“These included the opportunity to operate Bridge of Earn as a satellite or branch practice and the chance to provide more flexible services in line with the needs of the population. We also asked if GPs were able to commit to work in the practice alongside a salaried GP.”
She said the transfer of patients to nearby surgeries was the “only safe option”.
“It is recognised by all parties involved that this has been a very complex, long-running issue and therefore NHS Tayside has already commissioned an in-depth review to ensure lessons can be learned,” she said.
“The medical director is offering a meeting with Perth city cluster colleagues to review the issues raised by GPs with a view to discussing an agreed way forward.
“It must be noted that both NHS Tayside and Perth and Kinross HSCP have always said that they will continue to look at the delivery of health services in the Bridge of Earn to explore what can be provided in the local area now, and importantly, which services should be provided in the future.”