Health bosses have admitted that they are closing Crawford Surgery despite the GP practice covering the village currently having its full complement of doctors.
Villagers were alarmed last week at discovering the part-time surgery, where they could see a doctor from a Moffat practice twice a week is to close due, it was said, to a national shortage of GPs.
However, the practice’s health authority, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, has now revealed the practice is currently fully staffed by three doctors it employs directly on a temporary basis.
It explains that it is closing the Crawford surgery to make the Moffat practice “more attractive” to new GPs it is trying to recruit to take over its running on the usual contractual basis with the NHS.
Even though all three doctors are in place, the board statement says: “The board is proposing that because of the difficulties in staffing the practice, we will move to delivery of Crawford, Wanlockhead and Leadhills services from the Leadhills surgery only.
“As now, the GP surgeries will be held on Tuesday and Thursday, with the surgery being open in the morning on each of these days for GP appointments.
“Medicines will be available for collection when the Leadhills surgery is open on four days of the week.
“While it is appreciated that these changes may cause concerns in the local community, surveys have shown that the vast majority of patients access the surgeries by car –either their own, or those of friends and neighbours. It is also understood that patients from the Lanarkshire area access the Moffat surgery on the days when the branch surgeries are not open.
“While Crawford is approximately 15 miles from Moffat, journey times are relatively low due to access of the motorway.”
One villager told the Gazette: “It looks as if you are too old or poor to drive, you’ve had it if you fall ill in Crawford.”
Both local MP David Mundell and MSP Aileen Campbell are pursuing the issue with Scottish NHS chiefs.