Scottish border village to lose GP surgery in March

A Scottish border village is set to lose its GP surgery branch, citing staffing reasons for the planned closure.

Merse Medical Practice, in Chirnside, will shut its doors to patients at the end of March 2023, with the branch in Duns remaining open.

A statement from NHS Borders said: "This is because of ongoing significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of staff within the practice which make it very difficult to provide cover across the two surgeries."

A public meeting and drop-in session has been arranged for Thursday 10 November at 2pm at Chirnside Community Centre.

The event will provide an opportunity for people to ask questions about the closure.

NHS Borders has stated it might look at potential accessibility and transport issues for patients regarding the closure.

A spokesperson said: "A letter has been sent to all patients registered with the practice advising them of this situation."

The closure of the surgery in Chirnside comes amid pressure throughout the country on the NHS.

Speaking on Thursday 3 November, Scottish deputy First Minister John Swinney said Brexit was putting pressure on the NHS in terms of staff recruitment and retention.

He told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: "We’ve put a lot of effort into trying to maximise the availability of healthcare staff within the system.

“And I think one of the challenges that we face, and it is a very real challenge, is about the availability of people to enter the labour market and to enter the nursing profession.

“So, we are, for example, struggling to recruit in social care and nursing to a significant extent because of the fall in the size of the working age population because of Brexit and the loss of free movement of people.

“And that is a very hard, blunt reality that’s affecting every aspect of the Scottish economy whether it’s the health service, whether it’s distribution, whether it’s transport, whether it’s agriculture, whether it’s any aspect of our public services or our private economy, we are struggling for employees.

“And that’s a direct result of the fallout of Brexit and the loss of free movement of individuals because many people have left our country who were here before perfectly able to contribute to our economy and they can no longer do so.”

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