GPs are considering cancelling their summer holidays because they cannot get locum cover in Perth and Kinross.
A health chief made the revelation as the region’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) met on Tuesday, May 30, to discuss the proposed closure of Invergowrie Medical Practice which was later agreed by the NHS Tayside Board on Thursday.
When the IJB’s vice-chair councillor Colin Stewart suggested appointing a locum GP as an option for Invergowrie, he was told finding a locum GP was “nigh on impossible”.
Interim associate medical director for primary care in Tayside Dr David Shaw told the board: “When I first started out it was not any bother to get a locum GP.”
But he said the situation had changed since then and added: “It’s very difficult to get GP locum cover – it’s nigh on impossible.”
Service manager Deborah McGill confirmed it was “extremely difficult” and Perth and Kinross associate medical director Hamish Dougall revealed the situation was so bad there were local GPs currently contemplating having to cancel their summer holidays.
While the issue was reported to be widespread across Tayside, Dr Dougall shared how much the shortage was affecting practices within Perth and Kinross.
The area’s associate medical director told the board: “Perth and Kinross has got a real issue getting locums right across many practices. We’ve got two practices in Perth City – large well-organised practices – with temporary list closures to new patients because they just do not have the medical workforce or the locum availability to do it.
“And there’s another practice where the doctors are talking about cancelling their summer holidays because there just isn’t the locums available so it is a real problem day to day for many practices to get that cover which was readily available a number of years ago.”