DRASTIC action will be required after reports that the final GP at West Kilbride surgery has resigned from the ailing service. Last month we reported that the NHS was facing up to an ever growing crisis with just one of the four GPs required for the village in post.

The NHS is now set to takeover the surgery earlier than anticipated following the resignation of the last remaining GP.

Eddie Fraser, Director of East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran and our partners in the Health and Social Care Partnerships are committed to ensuring that people have high quality access to local health services.

“West Kilbride surgery has been experiencing recruitment difficulties for doctors following the resignations of GPs. To ensure that patients continue to receive services, NHS Ayrshire & Arran will take over the management of the surgery from 9 August 2017.

“We would like to assure patients that we will continue to provide general medical services from the practice and patients should access the surgery as normal.”

It is expected that the situation will require patients to go to nearby surgeries placing additional strain on an already creaking service in the area.

The NHS report on the state of the GP service in the area said: “The age profile of local General Medical Practitioners has become skewed with a higher proportion towards the end of their careers, resulting in the rate of retiral exceeding new entrants to the profession.

“This situation has been exacerbated by increasing difficulty in filling all available GP Trainee vacancies locally. “It is also recognised that newly qualified GPs prefer to work on a less-than-full time basis and are increasingly opting for ‘portfolio careers’ with a part-time practice-based commitment (5 to 6 GP sessions = 2 ½ to 3 days) and a commitment to particular area of interest outwith traditional general practice.

“As a result, for every experienced GP who retires or leaves the area, two newly qualified GPs will need to be recruited to provide like-for-like medical cover.”

The report adds: “General Medical Services are becoming increasingly fragile.”

The Partnership is set to agree a new approach to GP services, using a successful ‘multi-disciplinary’ which has been adopted in Kilwinning.

MSP Kenny Gibson told the Herald: “Firstly, the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership will effectively be taking over for the time being, to ensure that patient inconvenience is minimised.

“Secondly, as a long term solution they are looking at providing professional support to add capacity for appointments.

“Finally, I am advised that NHS Ayrshire & Arran has successfully secured funding for three GPs from the Scottish Rural Medicine Collaborative, which the SNP Government has set up. I have not been informed where these positions are but have sought assurances that West Kilbride will be made a priority.

“The ongoing situation at West Kilbride is exacerbated by the fact that vacancies simply cannot be filled.”