A PARTNERSHIP of doctors who run a surgery in the area are to step down from managing the site from the middle of next year.

The Upper Nithsdale Practice group have told NHS Dumfries and Galloway chiefs that they will walk away from the day-to-day running of the Mill Hill Centre in Kelloholm.

The move at Upper Nithsdale Group Practice, which provides services to patients from premises at Sanquhar and Kelloholm, is set to take effect from May 1, 2022.

The model for GP practices commonly operated across both Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland sees the partners in each practice carry the responsibility for its day-to-day running.

However, the NHS board may have to step in to ensure continued services for residents in the area.

An NHS Dumfries and Galloway spokesperson said: “The decision by partners at Upper Nithsdale Group Practice to step back from the day-to-day responsibility for the running of the practice means work is now underway to prepare for this move, and to ensure a continuity in service.

“Patients of the practice should be reassured that the GPs and their practice team will be continuing to provide services to patients at Sanquhar and Kelloholm during this period, which as for all practices across the region is set to be extremely busy and challenging.

“Patients are asked to be patient and understanding, and the Health and Social Care Partnership is committed to ensure that they, staff and the wider community remain informed as work takes place over coming months in response to this development.”

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said the move highlights the “scale of the GP crisis.”

Smyth said: “This move by the GPs highlights the scale of the GP crisis we are facing, which predates the pandemic.

“The shortage of GPs means the system is at breaking point– if it’s not already broken. We simply don’t have enough GPs to meet demand. That leads to frustration among the doctors who are being forced into decisions like this and from patients who are constantly in touch with me over issues such as difficulties getting face to face appointments with doctors across the region because of the workload of our GPs.”

“My own personal view is I would prefer a model where GP practices were run directly by the NHS and GPs were employed by the health services rather than having to run a practise as a business, but I recognise historically that hasn’t been the preference. However, it looks as if that will be the only option to keep services going at the Mill Hill Centre.”