This latest twist in the long saga of problems at the practice, caused by a basic shortage of GPs, came with an announcement by NHS Lanarkshire that Lanark Doctors had given six months’ notice that it will withdraw from its contract to provide medical cover at the cottage hospital.
The 30-bed establishment provides care for mainly elderly patients from throughout the Lanark/Carluke areas of Clydesdale and NHS Lanarkshire was quick to try to quell any fears that their care might be affected by the change.
The health authority’s chief executive, Calum Campbell, said: “Lockhart Hospital provides a valuable service for patients in the Clydesdale area.
“We have a team of skilled and dedicated nurses based within the hospital providing planned care that meets individual needs and day-to-day medical cover has been provided by the Lanark Doctors in recent years along with consultant and other clinical input as required.
“Regrettably, we have received six months’ notice from the Lanark Doctors of their intention to withdraw from the contract to provide medical services at Lockhart Hospital.
“We recognise that this has been a difficult decision by the doctors and is due to challenges the practice has experienced over an extended period of time in being able to recruit GPs to vacancies and compounded by the recent departure of another partner.”
He went on: “Our initial priority is to put in place new arrangements to provide medical services at the hospital.
“Discussions are underway with GP practices in Clydesdale about how best to provide medical services at the cottage hospital.
“We can provide assurances that safe medical services will continue to be maintained during the notice period and while new arrangements are put in place.
“We will continue to engage with staff and patients and provide updates on progress being made to develop new arrangements at Lockhart Hospital.”
Clydesdale’s MSP Aileen Campbell has contacted NHS Lanarkshire, expressing her concerns.