Am Bratach No. 329
March 2019

GP post on offer in Scourie, KLB and Durness

NHS Highland is currently recruiting for a salaried GP in the combined practices of Scourie, Kinlochbervie and Durness in an attempt to end a longstanding reliance on locum cover.

A spokesperson for NHS Highland said that the practice was currently covered by one salaried GP alongside“a regular cohort of locum GPs”. He added: “Locum doctors are employed to cover day-time appointments, and also provide Monday to Thursday evening on-call for the area. This is a temporary situation until such time as we recruit to the vacant post. The weekend out-of- hours GP cover is provided from 6pm on Friday evenings through to 8am on Monday morning; this is a separate contract covered by the NHS Highland out-of-hours service, and the cover is usually provided by GPs working in a locum capacity.”

Prior to the retirement of Durness GP Dr Alan Belbin in 2015, the practices were run separately, with a single doctor in Durness and another serving Scourie and Kinlochbervie. A 2016 report on GP recruitment and retention published by the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland cited the practice as an example of recruitment difficulties in rural areas. At that time, Dr Anne Berrie was working in Kinlochbervie and Scourie on a part-time basis for two-and-a-half weeks a month. The Durness post was said to have been “widely advertised”with no applicants.

The report identified workload, lack of support, work-life balance and a lackof available GPs as the main obstacles to recruitment and retention in rural areas.

The current vacancy, which was advertised on February 4 with a closing date of April 5, invites applicants to “come to North West Sutherland and be the doctor you’ve always wanted to be.” The post is offered on a full or part-time basis at a salary of £77,090to £86,898 pro rata, with an expectation to share the on-call rota two nights per week.

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