The Kingdom’s population continues to grow and its health needs are evolving with an increasing demand across all areas of healthcare services.
And NHS Fife is looking at ways of how to adapt the services it delivers to make sure it continues to meet local needs, both now and in the future.
For the majority of people, their first point of contact is their GP.
But there are some practices in Fife that have experienced difficulty in recruiting permanent GPs because of a shortage of practitioners.
Ultimately, medical practices are responsible for their own recruitment, although NHS Fife is actively working alongside affected practices to try and solve the problem.
To help the situation, a number of measures have been carried out in recent months to limit any impact on patients and to ensure that quality care continues to be provided.
Dr Frances Elliot, NHS Fife’s medical director, said: “We are looking at a range of options to best support practices and ensure Fife patients continue to receive the best possible standards of care.
“This will look at adapting the skill mix within practices to enable the recruitment of clinical pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners and other health and social care professionals to support the existing teams.
“The NHS Fife board will be working closely with GPs through the newly-established Health and Social Care Partnership, to ensure that strengthening primary care services forms a key part of health and social care integration moving forward.
“It is worth noting also that, while we continue to experience challenges in recruiting to vacant posts, Fife is far from the worst affected areas in the country, not least because of the continued dedication of practice staff themselves.”
One way of making sure there is adequate GP cover was through the introduction of the GP Practice Sustainability Group, which was launched last year. There is also a new pilot to introduce community physicians who will work across both general practice and hospital settings. They are fully trained GPs who will take part in extra training to help them deal with the detailed care that the elderly require.