A DOCTORS' surgery which was under threat of closure has been saved.
Patients currently registered with Deveron Medical Practice in Banff will be transferred to Macduff Medical Practice from May 1, the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) has announced.
But the patients will not need to attend a different surgery as the Macduff practice is moving into the building which currently houses the Deveron practice in Fife Street, Banff. It is not yet known what the new, combined practice will be called.
Mark Simpson, partnership manager for the AHSCP, said: "I am so pleased that we have been able to secure future provision of primary care services for the populations of Banff and Macduff.
"The project board has been working hard behind the scenes to look at all available options and I really am delighted that we have been able to secure this outcome for the community.
"I would like to thank the partners at the Macduff practice and everyone who has worked on this. What a great way to start the new year."
It was announced at the end of October that the Deveron practice, which has 6300 patients, would end its contract with NHS Grampian this year.
The surgery had been struggling to attract new GPs for a long time, a situation reflected in many medical centres in the area, and had been relying on locums.
The doctors were going to end their contract with the health board in April but the decision sparked an outcry, and at least 1700 people signed an online petition urging the Scottish Government to save the practice.
Since then, the AHSCP has been working on finding a solution and held a public consultation at the Harvest Centre in Banff in November.
Dr Iain Brooker, a partner at Macduff Medical Practice, said: "As partners we have had many, many discussions about how to accommodate the extra patients while not compromising the service we currently deliver.
"We all feel a great deal of warmth and responsibility to the people of the area and we could not stand by and do nothing while people in our community were worried.
"The building that currently houses the Deveron Medical Practice was purpose-built and is only a few years old, so moving into that building makes perfect sense and will give us the room that we sorely need.
"This is a very positive step forward for us all and we are looking forward to meeting our new patients soon."
No staff will be made redundant as a result of the changes as members from the Deveron practice will join Macduff to ensure the continuing service provision.
It is hoped that the building which currently houses the Macduff practice will be utilised by health and social care staff post-move.
A public information session will be held in due course to allow patients from both practices to ask questions and share any concerns they may have following the changes.