Scourie & Kinlochbervie Medical Practice

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NW Sutherland


This is one of the mostly sparsely populated areas in the UK. There are 7 GPs between 5 practices at Lochinver, Kinlochbervie, Durness, Tongue and Armadale covering a resident population of ~3500. It would take over 3 hours to drive from one end to the other. There is very little public transport in this area.


Scourie and Kinlochbervie Medical Practice


I am single-handed in this practice which has 2 surgery branches 15 miles apart. It covers a geographical area which is 25 miles by road north to south and 35 miles east to west and has a resident population of less than 700. There is some cross-cover with the Durness practice to the north which adds on another 30 road miles and just over 300 resident patients.


We do our own 24 hour cover Mon 8am to Fri 5pm. Both practices are covered by 1 GP at weekends: I usually do 2 weekends a month, the Durness GP does 1 or 2 Sundays and the rest of the time is covered by locums. Because of our remoteness GPs attend almost all 999 calls and we are BASICS trained.




There is an emergency vehicle stationed in Kinlochbervie which covers the whole area but is technician crew only. If this crew is single-manned, busy or on a fatigue break, the nearest alternative land ambulances are Lochinver, Lairg or Bettyhill – can be over 1 hour away: these crews sometimes have a paramedic. All these crews do 7 day shifts c 24hr on-call.


The nearest DGH A&E unit is in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness which is 100miles/2 to 3 hours away by a remote single-track road - there are no suitable nearer community hospitals or RGH. When away the ambulance is out of the area for 6-16hrs. Helicopter evacuation of the seriously ill or injured patient is often used: almost all are taken to Inverness (25-30 minutes flying time) but occasionally, usually due to the weather, the evacuation has been to Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway which is actually my nearest hospital as the crow flies.



Community Nurses


There are 3 part-time nurses who also cover the practice nurse clinics. They are on-duty 9am-5pm 7 days a week but do not do any on-call except for terminal care patients.




Routine appointments are in Kinlochbervie on a Monday morning, Tuesday all day, Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning. Scourie has sessions on Monday afternoon, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon. Thursday morning is an administrative session for me and afternoon half-day covered by the Durness GP.


There are practice nurse sessions in Kinlochbervie on Tuesday and Friday mornings and in Scourie on Monday afternoons and Wednesday mornings.


There are visiting services from a physiotherapist, CPN, Macmillan nurse, midwife, and Health Visitor; there is a social worker for the area based in Lochinver.


There is a part-time practice manager and 3 part-time receptionists. The practice is dispensing and each branch gets a delivery of drugs once a week.




The vast majority of outpatient referrals are to clinics in Inverness. Most emergencies also go to Inverness although there are 2 community hospitals at Golspie and Bonar Bridge (both 1.5 – 2 hrs away) to which I can send some less ill elderly.

All our bloods and other samples get sent to Inverness by post.


Dr Berrie


I graduated in 1979, spent 8 years as an anaesthetist, and then did my GP training qualifying in 1993. I worked in the deputising (overnight + weekend) on-call GP service in Glasgow and the West of Scotland; then for the Benefits Agency doing medicals for incapacity and disability claimants. In 2003 I started doing GP locums and found I liked remote rural practice. I came as a locum to this practice in 2006 and took over as a directly health board employed salaried GP in February 2007.


I am not MRCGP (relatively common in GPs of my generation) and have no formal educational experience or training. We have hosted student nurses in this practice and had a junior doctor in for a week’s remote placement. I have been asked about taking medical students but this has not yet happened. We regularly have rural fellows – a Scottish scheme where newly qualified GPs have a 1 year salaried post working in several rural practices plus paid educational activities.


I am a member of RPAS (the Remote Practitioners Association of Scotland) which has an internet chat-line and a 3 day conference in Inverness in November to which any GP or registrar is welcome to attend. 


I am the GP sub-committee and LMC representative for NW Sutherland and attend bi-monthly meetings in Inverness. There is a Local Health Partnership whose meetings are held in this area bi-monthly


Local services


The nearest airport is Inverness but flights into Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh may be considerably cheaper. A car is essential to get here and get around: this area is 2-2.5 hours drive from Inverness, 4-4.5hrs from Aberdeen and 5.5hrs from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

There are local hotels, B&B, and self-catering accommodation but I would look into staying with a local family if this option was preferable. There are few services here: a general store in the main villages and a visiting mobile bank twice a week. Most of the hotels and restaurants are only open for the summer season (Easter to October).

KyleskuBridge and Sandwood bay are places which feature in Scottish calendars; Handa Island is an RSPB nature reserve (open Apr-Oct); Cape Wrath and Smoo cave are attractions in Durness. There are many other beaches, mountains and lots of red deer.


You are welcome to come here at any time of the year. Please contact me if you require any further information.


Open for applications: 
Sunday, 10 March, 2013 to Wednesday, 30 April, 2014
Street address: 
Scourie & Kinlochbervie Medical Practice The Health Centre Kinlochbervie Sutherland, IV27 4RP
United Kingdom
Scourie & Kinlochbervie Medical Practice
Scourie & Kinlochbervie Medical Practice The Health Centre Kinlochbervie Sutherland, IV27 4RP
United Kingdom