Linlithgow may be about to experience a health care meltdown after the decision to close a GP’s practice was announced.
Dr David Cochran, who ran the town’s family practice, retired in June 2014 but his services had been retained as a locum in an attempt at consistency while the NHS sought a new GP to take over the 2000-patient practice.
Despite advertising nationally, the health board was unable to find anyone willing to take over.
As a result, all patients are now being transferred to the eight-doctor Linlithgow Group Medical Practice in the same building.
Serious concerns were raised, however, over an announcement that this practice was advertising for TWO new GPs to cope with the influx of patients – despite the fact NHS Lothian couldn’t secure the services of one to take over Dr Cochran’s surgery.
Dr Cochran said his retirement had been tinged with frustration.
He claimed changes in GP contracts and “dubious targets” set by NHS Lothian had forced his hand into retiring earlier than he might otherwise have done.
And he said that more and more paperwork and administration had left him less time to spend on the core work of simply caring for his sick patients.
Jim Forrest, director West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership, said: “NHS Lothian Practitioner Services has written to all of the patients registered at the Linlithgow Family Practice informing them that it will close from April 1, 2015.
“The vast majority of patients will automatically be transferred to the Linlithgow Group Medical Practice.
“Following the announcement by the incumbent GP to retire, we liased with other GP practices and advertised locally and nationally for new GPs to take on part or all of the practice.
“However, we were unable to find anyone wishing to take over the running of the practice.”