A RURAL Moray community which faced the closure of its GP practice has been able to breathe a collective sigh of relief after a rescue plan was found.
The future of Rothes Medical Centre looked uncertain when no-one could be found to take over from Dr Norman Johnston and his wife Anne, the practice manager, who together have run the busy surgery for 27 years but have now retired.
However, from April, the practice will operate as a branch of The Maryhill Practice in Elgin.
Dr Johnston expressed his relief at the move which safeguards the future of the practice.
"We have been trying for some time to get someone to take over and this is a good solution," he said.
"We have had a lot of uncertainty caused by the problems in GP recruitment, particularly for rural areas."
‘The Scot’ reported earlier this month the concerns of local GPs over difficulties in recruitment and the looming retirement of a number of established GPs, particularly in rural practices.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian confirmed the merger move with Maryhill: "Patients of the Rothes Medical Practice will continue to have consultations at the premises in High Street, Rothes. The other members of the clinical and administrative team will continue to work there.
"GP cover will be provided by The Maryhill Practice team which will include Dr Sarah Packham."
Dr Packham is currently assistant GP to Dr Johnston and he said she will be the main lynchpin of the surgery.
The practice also has two reception staff, a health visitor and practice nurse.
Eileen Rae, Practice Manager at The Maryhill Practice said she was pleased to announce the new partnership between the two practices.
"This will ensure patients living in the Rothes area will still receive medical services in their location.
For the full story and more community reaction to the news, see ‘The Scot’ print version.