Moray’s shifting population and increasing housing developments are being blamed for 400 patients being told they are no longer welcome at an Elgin medical practice.
Patients registered at the Linkwood Medical Practice with addresses in Duffus, Hopeman and Lossiemouth were surprised to receive letters this week informing them that they had until April to make new arrangements for their future health care as they could not remain at the practice.
That included a number of families who had been attached to the same medical practice for their entire lives – but a spokesman for NHS Grampian insisted that the move was essential to maintain the integrity of the practice, which currently serves 11,633 patients.
One family who did not wish to be named received several letters from the practice on the same day, one for each member of the family. They told insideMoray: “We were told quite bluntly that we had to make alternative arrangements by April.
“The letters made it quite clear that there was little point entering into any debate, no exceptions would be made as the practice said that ‘would be unfair to other patients’.
“We have been registered at Linkwood all our lives and have never had reason to complain about the care we received. However, it does leave a very bad taste to be treated in this manner – whatever happened to continuity of care?
“We know the Doctors at Linkwood and they know us – it seems very unfair that they can just cast you aside, surely if Elgin is growing so quickly as they say then planners should be putting additional medical facilities in place to meet that demand?”
Confirming the move a spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “The shift in population resulting from on-going housing developments in Elgin has meant that, with regret, Linkwood Medical Practice has had to ask patients in the Duffus, Hopeman and Lossiemouth areas to re-register with neighbouring practices.
“The practice did not take this decision lightly, and apologises for the inconvenience.
“Unfortunately lengthy travelling time for GPs and other Staff on home visits dilutes the service, making it increasingly difficult to provide safe and reliable cover for other patients.
“The Moray Coast Medical Practice, Elgin Community Surgery and Maryhill Group Practice have all indicated they will be able to register patients so no one will be left without a GP.
“The changes coming into effect on April 1 and the Practice has written to all 400 patients affected.”