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Tiny Scottish island goes to Facebook to find a GP

Jura has been without a permanent doctor for over a year

Mark Gould

Monday, 06 August 2012

The tiny and remote Scottish island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides has turned to social media to help recruit a resident GP.

The 200-strong community has been without a permanent doctor for more than a year after advertisements in medical journals failed to attract any candidates.

Now it has now posted the job details on Facebook, and is appealing for the advert to be shared as widely as possible across the world.

The page says: “It’s a dream job for the right person.” There is also a bottle of Jura whisky on offer as a ‘finder’s fee’.

Jura boasts picturesque beaches, an abundance of wildlife, a bar, shop and even a world-famous whisky distillery.

But it has been without a permanent GP for more than a year, and has had to rely on locum cover.

The island's remoteness off the west coast of Scotland means the doctor is permanently on call and has to do everything.

The first task for the last full-time GP was to change the tyre on the island's ambulance.

Rob Tigeir, Jura's local development officer, moved to the island from the Scottish mainland and is involved in the massive effort to find a doctor willing to do the same.

He told BBC Scotland: "It's important that when we go to see a doctor more than once for a complaint that it's the same doctor.

"We don't want to have to explain our complaints again and again. Over the last year we've had to explain our complaints many, many times. The locums are very good but we need that consistency. We need a doctor to see the patterns and provide continuing care."

Willie MacDonald, who is Jura's estate manager and the island's community council chairman, added: "I still feel there are doctors out there who just want to be doctors working within relatively small communities covering 24/7 and being part of the community.

"You've got a beautiful location. It's a friendly place to live. The lifestyle's good. The schooling's good. There's no crime, as such. People are very laid back in comparison to what you'd have in a city environment."

Residents have been here before. In 2005 the local health board advertised the position twice, with no applicants. So residents placed their own adverts but the GP who got the job had to leave to look after an elderly relative.

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