Dismay that Friockheim GP practice praised after closure

MSP Tess White has expressed dismay in the Scottish Parilament after an Angus GP practice became Tayside’s most-praised health centre – months after it was closed due to a lack of doctors.

Mark Dowie
Thursday, 15th September 2022, 7:00am
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Friockheim Health Centre scored a 95.46% positive score in the 2021-22 Health and Care Experience Survey undertaken of 100,000 Scots.

But NHS Tayside had to relocate 3000 patients in May after its GP partner retired and no recruits came forward.

Ms White. North East MSP and Scottish Conservative shadow public health minister, questioned the Scottish Government over why measures to retain rural GPs are “simply not working”.

GPs in other parts of Angus have said they are already struggling to cope with spiralling patient lists, as practices in Forfar and Kirriemuir launched a joint objection to plans for new housing in the area.

Ms White told SNP cabinet secretary Humza Yousaf: “Friockheim Health Centre in Angus scored a 95.46% positive score in the Health and Care Experience Survey – the highest across Tayside. But difficulties recruiting GPs to the surgery meant it closed earlier this year, moving 3000 patients elsewhere. That was another huge blow for rural patient care.

“The Scottish Government committed to a £20,000 ‘golden hello’ to help fill rural vacancies. Why, cabinet secretary, is this simply not working?

Mr Yousaf said he is "hoping" a number of Scottish Government measures “taken together” would “begin to see more and more people” take up roles in rural and island communities.

These included the ScotGEM graduate programme, a £20,000 bursary to GPs looking to work in hard-to-fill areas.

Ms White said later: “Friockheim is just one of a number of Tayside health settings which came under pressure because there aren’t enough doctors being taken on. It speaks volumes that such a respected and widely-admired practice still had to close.

“Humza Yousaf was unable to give any indication of when junior doctors and nurses will be recruited for Angus.

“We’re seeing substantial and unmanageable pressure on people waiting to see a doctor, and on staff themselves who are struggling with bigger and bigger patient lists."​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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