More than 4,500 patients registered at the Rosemount Medical Group (RMG) in Aberdeen could be redistributed to GP practices closer to their homes when their practice closes next year.
This is the preferred option that the Aberdeen City Integration Joint Board (IJB) is considering to guarantee general practice services to Rosemount Medical Group’s 4,568 patients.
The decision is being measured after the practice made clear in July that it had made the ‘difficult decision’ to cancel its contract with NHS Grampian from 31st January 2019, following an unsuccessful recruitment drive for new GPs.
The IJB said that a number of practices have already signalled their ability to register new patients and ‘discussions with other practices are continuing’.
IJB vice-chair Cllr Sarah Duncan said: ‘Over the coming weeks, we will be working to ensure that all of Rosemount’s patients continue to have access to general medical services beyond January 2019.’
She added that this will be done by consulting ‘patients and GP practices across the city’, which will be kept informed of possible developments.
Sustainable GP practices in Aberdeen
The IJB specified that the chosen option is in line with their primary care improvement plan and its re-imagining primary care plan.
An Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership spokesperson said that ‘both documents propose a future in which there are fewer, but more sustainable, GP practices in Aberdeen’, which might have a larger patient list than the current average, but would be staffed with a multi-disciplinary team.
They added that although the closure of RSG – which was one of the smallest practices in the city – was unplanned, it will allow them to disperse patients to practices that can accept them ‘potentially making them more sustainable and better placed to access greater staff resources’.
The IJB added: ‘These strategies are designed to create sustainable GP practices in Aberdeen, with diversified workforces to serve patients better. They also pave the way for GPs to focus more on their primary role as expert medical generalists and allow other clinical duties to be handled by other health and care professionals.’
The IJB says that its plans will help practices build a ‘workforce that can offer a range of services like pharmacy, physiotherapy, mental health, and link workers to signpost patients to community resources’, which will make practices more sustainable and help attract more doctors.
The Scottish Government launched a marketing campaignearlier this year in an effort to attract GPs from the rest of the UK and abroad, in line with its commitment to boost numbers by 800 over the next 10 years.