A GP surgery that closed for the summer and was set to shut for good will soon reopen – but questions remain over its future.
Patients registered at Fintry Mill Medical Centre had been told a month ago that it was set to shut permanently.
However, Ron Neave, chairman of Fintry Community Council, has now been told the centre will reopen – at least in the short term.
The centre was closed during the Easter and summer holidays because of a failure to recruit permanent GPs.
All patient services, including prescriptions, were transferred to the Mill Practice at Arthurstone Medical Centre.
The move was criticised by locals who said it placed elderly and disabled residents at a disadvantage by putting vital local medical services out of reach.
Mr Neave told community council members: “I’ve had meetings with NHS Tayside and the owners of Arthurstone and Fintry Mill centres.
“It now turns out they will be reopening Fintry Mill, hopefully on Monday, but they have to put a report through to NHS Tayside who will make the final decision.”
Services will resume from this coming Monday – but the health centre has been reluctant to say any more.
Mr Neave said that permanent doctors were proving hard to find.
He said that many medical professionals were working as “locum” GPs, which meant they were able to work as doctors without having to handle administrative duties or manage a practice. He told the community council: “Fintry Mill centre doesn’t have enough doctors.
“I’ve suggested splitting the doctors across the two sites, but the owners are saying they have more than 3,000 patients at Arthurstone, which is the bigger of the two.
“It would appear doctors are going into the locum system rather than becoming regular GPs because they don’t have the extra responsibility of managing the surgery.”
Problems with recruiting permanent family doctors are ongoing for health boards across the country.
A new GP contract was agreed by the British Medical Association and the Scottish Government this year that aims to make general practice more attractive.
Key points of the new deal include a guaranteed minimum salary of £80,000 and GPs being relieved of administrative duties.
The Tele asked NHS Tayside if it was aware of Fintry Mill’s plans.
A spokeswoman confirmed the health board was aware. She said: “Fintry Mill Practice will reopen on Monday August 13 following the six-week temporary closure.
“All health boards across Scotland are currently facing a national shortage of GPs and NHS Tayside is no exception.
“Feedback gathered from the recent public consultation exercise will be used to inform the recommendations to Dundee Integration Joint Board and NHS Tayside in the coming weeks.
“A final decision will be made (on Fintry Mill) in due course.”
Fintry Mill manager Gordon Bain was asked to comment, but did not respond to the Tele’s requests.