A SHORTAGE of medical students choosing to go into general practice and the looming retirement of long-serving doctors poses a real challenge to Moray’s health care system over the next decade.
With fewer GPs available locally, many practices in Moray are already adopting a policy of "robbing Peter to pay Paul", with colleagues moving between practices.
And with many GPs locally aged over 55, their retirement in the next few years could exacerbate the problem.
"It is a huge worry," said Dr Mark Houliston, one of Moray’s senior GPs. "There is a large percentage of GPs who will retire in the next 10 years, and we will not be able to replace them with the same type of practitioner."
He added, however: "We are putting in lots of support to make sure the GP system doesn’t collapse."
Dr Houliston, who is a GP trainer, said: "We have got to look at how we can make Moray more attractive and get the right people in. We need to attract a particular type, with an interest in rural areas."
Dr Houliston and Dr Graham Taylor are joint clinical leads for the Moray Community Health and Social Care Partnership (CHP), and both working GPs in Elgin with almost 50 years’ experience between them.
Efforts are being made locally to encourage more young medical students to opt for general practice and look at Moray as a place to further their career, and become part of their local community.
For more on this story, see this week's Northern Scot print edition.