It has been recently announced that The Cannons Surgery in Methil will be taken over by NHS Fife as a result of major staffing concerns. The surgery had made various attempts to recruit two GP Principles without any success resulting in one GP single –handedly covering the surgery with support from a Nurse Practitioner.
As a result the decision was taken that The Cannons Surgery would resign from its Section 17C GMS contract in November when NHS Fife will take over the running of the practice.
Alongside the Methil surgery there have been unsuccessful attempts to recruit GPs in Kennoway, Lochore and Dunfermline, with many practices in Fife recording difficulties in securing locum cover.
The warning signs of a crisis in general practice has been growing for some time and the repeated failures to find two full time GPs for Methil will be a major cause of concern for locals and patients at the surgery.
We also know that one in five GP trainee posts are vacant in Scotland this year which points to the potential for this to be a problem that gets worse rather than better unless there is drastic action from the Scottish Government.
The impact the GP crisis has on the wider health service in Fife must also be taken into account. If locals are unable to see a local doctor they will head to A&E a potential increase in waiting times and pressures on already overworked and under-resourced staff.
This crisis has been building for some time and questions must be asked as to why it was allowed to get to a situation where Cannons Surgery had to be taken over by NHS Fife.
The Scottish Government must now get a grip on this growing crisis and ensure that the people in Methil and throughout Fife have full access to local GPs.