GP crisis ahead in Galloway

The health service in Dumfries and Galloway is warning of growing problems in recruiting GPs with seven due to retire in the next two years.

A report to the board meeting of NHS Dumfries and Galloway on Monday, December 7 says that experience from the rest of Scotland where practices have become vacant shows that ‘this is a very challenging situation to manage, particularly in more rural areas where recruitment is very challenging’.

In Stewartry, despite widespread advertising, the Kircudbright/Gatehouse practice has two long-term vacancies. The Castle Douglas Medical Group has recently successfully recruited to one of its vacancies, but is unable to resume its input to Castle Douglas Cottage hospital.

The three other practices in Stewartry have no recruitment problems.

In Wigtownshire the only currently advertised vacancy is that following the tragic death of Dr Murphie from Loch Ree practice earlier this year.

However this area has a substantial group of GPs - at least seven - who are likely to retire within the next two years.

The report states: “Recruitment to the west of the region has generally been more difficult than the east, so there are considerable potential problems ahead.

“All three of the GP training posts in the west are currently vacant, and we have been unable to recruit to the Rural Training Fellow post over the last two years.

“The Medical Director will be working with locality managers and clinical leads to find individual solutions to the problems encountered by each practice. The Board continues to experience marked difficulties in recruitment of medical staff – both directly employed and in General Practice. The Board has a policy of filling all vacant slots with locums to maintain service/safety – but this has a very substantial impact on locum agency spend. Various initiatives are under way to recruit medical staff to the region,

The Crichton Institute’s next panel discussion - Health Provision in Rural Dumfries and Galloway – is on 16 December.

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