Island in shock as GPs resign after six months
TWO GPs have resigned from a surgery on the isle of Mull after less than six months in the position, writes Louise Glen.
The appointment of doctors David Wheater and Heather Royal at the turn of 2015 was meant to signal the end to a bleak period in the island’s history.
News of the doctors’ departure means there will only be one functioning salaried practice on the island, at Salen, run by Dr Frank Teunisse.
Plans for an island-wide practice have fallen through because of continued staffing concerns.
A spokesman for NHS Highland said: ‘Doctors Wheater and Royal will continue to work with NHS Highland until the end of October, delivering medical services to patients in Tobermory.’
In a statement from both GPs, doctors Wheater and Royal said: ‘We have appreciated the support and guidance that has been provided for us over the last few months and have enjoyed working with the practice group and members of Lorn Medical Practice in Oban.
‘Their experience and advice in practice matters has been invaluable.
‘We look forward to continuing to make positive changes over the next few weeks and months and will support the local team in helping where we can to recruit to our successors.’
A spokesman for NHS Highland continued: ‘A doctor has offered to provide services in the Ross of Mull and Iona until he retires, but under a general medical services contract.
‘We have decided to take a pragmatic approach and have put plans in place to advertise the Bunessan practice as soon as possible in line with national legislation enabling interested single handed GPs to apply.
‘Members of the locality team have met with local representatives and staff in Bunessan to inform them of this development.
‘With regard to older and vulnerable people, our highly experienced island community team lead has moved to Mull for three months to enhance the skills of our existing staff ensuring good chronic disease management for the most vulnerable people on the island, which has already had a positive impact.
‘We are also looking at how best we can integrate our health and social care teams in the various localities on Mull to ensure care is delivered in a timely way to those who need it most.
‘We recognise we have, over the last two years, been unsuccessful in our recruitment for salaried GPs so are exploring the possibility of different ways to recruit doctors under a different contractual arrangement.’