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The South Uist Medical Practice will stop registering new patients for six months when the Western Isles Health Board takes over the Benbecula Medical Practice on Monday.

Following “limited discussions” with the NHS board about the change’s impact on the South Uist practice, Dr Stephen Bird has decided to halt new patient registrations temporarily.

The South Uist GP said he was taking the measure to protect the service to those currently registered at the South Uist Medical Practice.

Said Dr Bird: “So that I can concentrate on your care I am closing the Registered Patient List to both new fully registering patients and also to temporary registering visitors.

“This list closure will start on 1st April 2024 and continue for six months until 30th September 2024. This will NOT affect patients who are already registered here with South Uist Medical Practice in any way. This just means that for a limited period, I will not be taking on Full or Temporary Registering patients.”

NHS Western Isles will now be responsible for alternative arrangements for new and temporary patient registrations. Dr Bird believes the most likely outcome will be that new and temporary patients will have to contact the Benbecula Medical Practice or the Health Board directly.

Noting that providing Primary Health Care for the patients of South Uist Medical Practice remains “my duty and my privilege,” Dr Bird emphasised that his priority has to be those patients already under his care during the Health Board’s transition at the Benbecula Medical Practice.