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Health / Petition seeks to ‘re-instate’ GP at southend medical practice

AN ONLINE petition calling for a GP to be reinstated to her job at the Levenwick Health Centre has gathered more than 125 signatures in its first 24 hours.

Initiated by South Mainland resident Genevieve Robertson who has been a patient of Dr Esther Mitchell for many years, the petition urges NHS Shetland to “immediately” reinstate the GP to the health centre “so she can continue providing excellent medical care to us all”.

Dr Mitchell lost her job on a “contractual technicality” when the Levenwick medical practice became an NHS managed health centre on 1 October last year.

This was done in response to a request from Dr Mitchell, the principal GP at the surgery, who had asked to pass on the contract back to the health board.

Dr Mitchell has meanwhile been working as a locum GP at the Lerwick Health Centre.

Robertson said in her petition statement: “Dr Mitchell’s dismissal is not just about one doctor losing her job; it’s about our community losing a vital healthcare resource and an irreplaceable figure who has touched countless lives with her medical expertise and compassionate care.

“We believe that this decision is short-sighted and detrimental to the wellbeing of our community members who rely on consistent quality healthcare services from trusted professionals like Dr Mitchell.

“Therefore, we urge those responsible to reconsider their decision and reinstate Dr Esther Mitchell at Levenwick Health Centre immediately so she can continue providing excellent medical care to us all.”

In response, NHS Shetland primary care manager Lisa Watt said: “Following the announcement last week, we understand that some patients may be feeling concerned, but we would like to reassure you there is no shortage of appointments, and we have sufficient cover in place at Levenwick Health Centre.

“The board currently employs three GPs and one ANP [advanced nurse practitioner], and there are no plans to change this.

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“Typically, more than one GP is working on any given day, but the numbers fluctuate, which is normal. When we need to arrange additional cover, a locum is put in place to ensure there is clinical cover five days a week.

“If you have any concerns regarding appointments, please contact the practice.”

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