NHS Grampian has sought to reassure residents in the Portlethen and Newtonhill area that steps are being taken to address concerns over the new town development at Chapelton of Elsick.
Chief executive Richard Carey has told local councillor Ian Mollison that NHS Grampian has been involved with the development from its very early stages.
Cllr Mollison said: “He has assured me that NHS Grampian has taken account of the development in terms of staffing and infrastructure. No doubt there will be difficulties and challenges as the new town is built but, hopefully, it will not impinge greatly on existing residents who rely on Portlethen health centre.
“I had written to Mr Carey after a meeting of Portlethen Community Council when the subject of GP provision at Chapelton of Elsick and the implications for the Portlethen surgery was discussed.
“There is great anxiety in Portlethen about how GP services will be provided, particularly in the early days until the new town is established.
‘‘There are concerns that the Portlethen practice – which is duty bound to accept patients from the new town – will become overburdened. It is already planning four extra consulting rooms and taking on a new GP to cope with current expansion of Marywell, Newtonhill and Portlethen.”
Mr Carey wrote: “The impact on the hospital will be minimal in the beginning. However, once we have available a planned programme of building work, we will take steps to ensure health services are provided for the population of Kincardine and Mearns, specifically the impact on the local General Medical Services.
“Edith Criggie, the Kincardine & Mearns area manager, is in the process of setting up a small working group to start looking at the existing NHS Grampian services and to have any issues and problems discussed and plans developed.
‘‘The group will be in consultation with the proposed Chapelton of Elsick Service Implementation Group which is soon to be set up by the Kincardine & Mearns Community Planning Partnership and will feed into the ongoing communications with local people.
“There have been no reports of the current medical provision being unable to support the local community.
‘‘Dr Ewan Clark for the medical centre has already answered this concern stating that, while demand is rising on the practice, medical capacity has also increased commensurately.
“If there is a specific issue, I would be more than happy to address these concerns.”
Work on the £1billion town is set to begin this year with plans to begin building the first 800 houses in spring.