Southside Surgery

The Southside GP Surgery has now moved to the Conan Doyle Medical Centre at Cameron Toll.

Conan Doyle Medical Centre - Street View

Below is the history of the events leading up to this move. It is clear that this surgery is just one victim of a crisis facing General Practice in Scotland today. The fact that senior Scottish polititians have been involved here is perhaps a sign that Government is aware of the problems. We hope they do something about it soon!

Here is the press release:

Plans for the future of Southside GP Surgery

The future of Southside GP Surgery has been secured after a move to the Conan Doyle Medical Centre was agreed through the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).

The Southside Surgery team came under direct NHS management in January, through the HSCP. The practice had been facing a number of challenges regarding recruitment and retention, similar to the pressures being faced by general practice across the country. The GP partners took the difficult decision to withdraw from their contract and this resulted in the need for the current premises to be sold and to look at alternatives for the future.

NHS Lothian and the HSCP have been working closely with the team at the Surgery to ensure patients continue to receive safe, effective and timely care. The GPs and staff have transferred to NHS Lothian providing job security and opportunities to explore new service delivery approaches. At the same time, a great deal of work has been undertaken to identify options for new premises for the Surgery. A number of options have been explored and agreement has been reached with the GP team at Conan Doyle Medical Centre at Cameron Toll and the Southside Surgery will move to its new home in May or June.

The purpose built Conan Doyle Medical Centre was opened in 2007 and will provide suitable consulting and waiting space for Southside Surgery staff and patients as well as improved car parking and better disabled access. The Medical Centre is around one and a half miles from the Southside Surgery’s current location on Bernard Terrace and there are excellent bus links.

Rob McCulloch Graham, Chief Officer, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said: “A lot of hard work has gone into finding a solution that will secure the future of this important Edinburgh practice. I would like to thank patients and staff for their patience during this period and to reassure them that the facilities being provided within the Conan Doyle Medical Centre will be a significant improvement on the current premises.”
There are currently around 5000 patients registered with the Southside Surgery. Information on the new arrangements will be sent to all patients directly once all the details have been finalised


We continue to be very concerned about the future of the Southside Surgery. We are receiving mixed reports, and are not sure exactly what is going on, but we have been calling on our political representatives to keep the pressure on NHS Lothian to ensure that services continue at this practice.


The article below gives the background. The latest news is that it is looking a lot more hopeful that new premises will be found and we believe that temporary accommodation has been secured to cover any interim period, so hopefully the crisis has been averted. Thanks to Ruth Davidson and Daniel Johnson, local MSPs, and other politicians who have worked to get a good outcome. Hopefully they will continue to scrutinise the actions of NHS Lothian to ensure all goes well.

September 2016

The Southside Surgery on Bernard Terrace is facing accommodation and recruitment problems. In July patients were told that there was a possibility of the prctice closing. We have written to Lothian NHS Board and the Integrated Joint Board asking them to do all they can to ensure that GP services continue to be available to the residents of Southside.

We understand that the Surgery has agreed with NHS Lothian for the practice to come under direct NHS management.

On Friday 12th August, Joan Carter (Chair SCC) and Frances Gifford (of the Southside Association) met with Ruth Davidson MSP to raise concerns that the Southside Surgery faces possible closure, summer 2017, if new premises cannot be found - and that all the surrounding surgeries have very limited capability for taking on new patients.

However, shortly before the meeting, NHS Lothian announced that they have no intention of closing the Southside Surgery and they are confident that new premises will be found. Ruth Davidson promised that she would check with NHS Lothian to see what they are doing about alternative premises. She also said that they will be discussing the crisis in general practice in Scotland at the Scottish Parliament before Christmas and she will use the Southside as her case study as we have drawn her attention to it.

On 31st August the Edinburgh Evening News published the following article:

Edinburgh Central MSP Ms Davidson called for at least 10 per cent of all health cash to be directed to GPs by 2020. She was speaking at the Southside Surgery in Newington, which is being run by NHS bosses after repeated efforts to recruit two new GP partners failed. A letter sent to patients by the remaining GPs, Dr Eileen Sanderson and Dr Alyson Reive, last month said the surgery building will have to be sold by next summer – as it is part-owned by two GPs who have retired – and its 5400 patients could be sent to other practices if a suitable site cannot be found. The letter said: “Options are however very limited and if (as is likely), no other location can be found, then Lothian Health Board plan to close the practice entirely and disperse our patients to other surgeries in the area.” NHS Lothian insisted then that it has no plans to close the surgery and it is confident it will find new premises in time.

Southside Surgery is the sixth practice to be taken over by NHS Lothian in recent months, after Bangholm, Kirkliston, Leith Links, Polwarth and Eskbridge Medical Practice in Musselburgh, were struggling to cope. Bangholm and Kirkliston have since returned to independent practice. Ms Davidson said: “We need to have a long-term plan for looking after GP services. “90 per cent of people’s contact in terms of health is through general practice but it gets less than 7 per cent of the NHS budget in Scotland. “The Royal College says that’s got to change and we support their plans to increase the money within the health budget that’s directed to general practice because it saves money down the line.” She added: “GP surgeries in all parts of the country are just swamped under the weight and they cannot cope. “Doctors are telling us they cannot cope, patients are telling us they can’t get on a list and they can’t get an appointment. “Something has got to give, so we have got to get a really strategic look at how we support this.”

Conservative health spokesman Donald Cameron said: “We are facing a GP crisis right across Scotland and it is time the SNP acted. “Extra funding for general practice would help us deliver a better local service for people right across Scotland, so you can actually get an appointment when you need it, instead of waiting at the end of a phone line.” Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, said: “It is essential that general practice receives extra funding and resources to ensure that it can provide the care that our patients deserve. “The health service in Scotland is facing unprecedented pressures, with increasing demands on the NHS outstripping resources and significant problems in recruiting and retaining medical staff.”

Read the article on the Evening News website

14th September - Moira Purdie, Practice Manager, Southside Surgery, writes:

There has been more media coverage of our story after Ruth’s visit, in which she was urging SNP to increase the percentage of NHS funding to GP services, which you’re probably aware of. Drs Sanderson and Reive attended the meeting at the Parliament last week and there was good representation from NHS Lothian, MPs, MSPs and local councillors and they all had an open and frank discussion. Apparently NHS Lothian does have the financial means to help us but it prevented by a Parliament ruling/regulation which is now being investigated. The doctors did feel that our situation is being taken seriously and we now just have to wait and see how this materialises. Other local practices are now aware of the implications for them if we are closed down and the message is starting to filter through that our patient list can’t be absorbed as easily as first thought, hopefully this applies the pressure needed.