Lack of GPs at Kinghorn Medical Practice 'totally unacceptable'

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The lack of GPs at a Fife medical practice is “totally unacceptable”, according to an MSP who highlighted Brexit as one of the main reasons for the crisis.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance says he has received complaints from concerned residents in Kinghorn that the local practice lacks GPs and has to rely on locums in order to cover the workload.

Mr Torrance said: “I would like to reassure my constituents in Kinghorn that I’m aware of the ongoing situation regarding the challenges being faced by Kinghorn Medical Practice.

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“This is totally unacceptable for the people of the town, and I have been in correspondence with residents who are quite rightly very concerned about the current reliance of locum doctors.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of GPs at Kinghorn Medical Practice.Concerns have been raised about the lack of GPs at Kinghorn Medical Practice.
Concerns have been raised about the lack of GPs at Kinghorn Medical Practice.

“Many GP services remain under extreme pressure post pandemic due to backlogs and staff sickness.

“NHS Fife’s ability to attract GPs from abroad has also been severely curtailed by Brexit and changes by the Westminster Government to the rules around the pension scheme that allows GPs to return to work after retiring are no longer viable.

“The UK Government has created a deeply troubling situation meaning that we now face a shortage of health professionals which will take time to replenish.

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“As a member of Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee I’m actively looking into the future of delivering primary care and how it can be improved as GP surgeries are coming under ever-greater pressure.”

NHS Fife and the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership took over the running of Kinghorn Medical Practice in April 2021 after the GP partners ended their General Medical Services contract.

Associate Medical Director for the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, Dr Helen Hellewell, said: “Across the UK, there’s a very significant shortage of General Practitioners, meaning there are far more vacancies than available GPs to fill these positions. This shortage is affecting Kinghorn Medical Practice along with several others in Fife.

“To help address the issue in the short term, a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, mental health nurses, pharmacists and advanced nurse practitioners are working to support the locum medical staff.

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"These clinicians are highly trained, experienced healthcare professionals who will provide patients with a very high standard of care, while we work to develop more permanent and longer-term solutions to improve GP cover.”

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