Methil doctor loss sparks patient upset

The Airlie Practice has taken over at the Cannons surgery at Methil Docks
The Airlie Practice has taken over at the Cannons surgery at Methil Docks

A Buckhaven family has criticised a ‘takeover’ of Methil’s Cannons surgery which prompted the loss of a respected doctor.

The practice – which has a 122 year history in Methil –was handed back to NHS Fife in November after Dr Janice Duncan struggled to recruit new GPs in recent years.

The Airlie Medical Practice in Victoria Road, Leven, later announced it was merging with Cannons but Dr Duncan chose to leave – much to the shock of long-standing patients.

Davina and Ian Douglas told the Mail: “We were told that the Airlie Practice was ‘joining forces’ with Cannons which lulled us into a false sense of security. Dr Duncan served 24 years with the practice and gave her heart and soul running it singlehandedly in recent years.”

They added: “Had we known it was going to be a takeover, NHS Fife and Airlie Practice would otherwise have heard one very loud, collective voice by means of petitions, protests and media coverage with possibly a very different outcome to reflect the NHS ethos that every voice matters.”

The Airlie Practice –which has three GP partners and has recently recruited another –told the Mail it had offered Dr Duncan a salaried partnership which she declined.

Dr Hannah Dakin said The Cannons had been struggling to replace GPs amid a Scotland-wide recruitment crisis which was a “grave situation for GPs and patients”.

She commented: “Dr Duncan worked very hard to keep running the practice and the GPs from Airlie Medical Practice were the only practice in the area to provide cover so she could have a half day off each week.

“While doing this we realised how unsustainable the situation was in The Cannons particularly for patients but also for staff.

“We then offered to take over the practice from NHS Fife who were very relieved that a long term solution had been offered to them for the future of the Cannons patients.

“We offered Dr Duncan a position as a salaried partner but this was not what she wanted so she left to work as a GP in another practice.

“We realise this has been a difficult time for Dr Duncan and recognise the huge commitment she has had to the Cannons practice and patients, as does NHS Fife.”

On the whole, the community had responded positively to the move, Dr Dakin said. She added: “Ultimately we are going to provide a long term sustainable service for the patients of both the Cannons and Airlie Medical Practice.”