Over a third of Fife GP patient lists “full”

Lesley Laird
Lesley Laird

A call for action has been made after figures were released showing that patient lists at all of Kirkcaldy’s GP surgeries are full.

And the situation is the same in more than a third of doctors’ surgeries throughout Fife.

Now Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy, has urged NHS Fife to take action to remedy the situation which leaves patients having to wait for weeks for a standard appointment.

Figures released by NHS Fife revealled that 21 of 56 GP practices in the region now have full patient lists.

Ms Laird said: “Fife’s patient numbers are growing, as are the health needs of an ageing population, and with fewer doctors – some reaching retirement – something has to give.

“Kirkcaldy has had a long-standing problem with this issue over the past decade and all seven practices have full lists currently, but a further six practices announced their lists were full in 2016, followed by another eight last year which clearly illustrates this is a deepening problem across the region.

“While residents will still be registered to a GP surgery through the NHS’ clearing system the growing demands being placed on a finite number of GPs is deeply worrying, as is the continuity of care being provided by locum doctors in the interim.

“Fife surgeries have the fourth highest average patient lists in the country – at the last count 6827 per surgery.

“The solution is to recruit more GPs, but recruitment drives have so far failed to bring in the numbers needed. Action has to be taken to address this growing concern.”

Dr Frances Elliott, medical director said that new patient places were allocated through a Practitioner Services service “to local practices within their area of residence.”

“In line with the rest of Scotland, Fife is experiencing challenges in recruiting to some GP vacancies. Within our role with the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership we are working closely with GPs to support practices in maintaining and improving patient care.”