IT is to be hoped that a cure can soon be found for the island of Cumbrae's medical ills.

The community is struggling to recruit a permanent GP, nine months after its three long-serving partners at the practice left, reportedly in protest at the loss of their dispensing service following the opening of a pharmacy on the island.

That has led to NHS Ayrshire and Arran having to pay out substantial sums for a full-time locum and a number of out-of-hours locums.

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Putting aside the acrimony surrounding the previous incumbents' departure, it is difficult to see why the board has been unable to fill the vacancy and is having to advertise the post again. Although an island, Cumbrae, which styles itself the "Jewel in the Clyde", is hardly remote. The ferry crossing from Largs takes a mere 10 minutes. Cumbrae offers an enviable lifestyle, boasting safe, sandy beaches and fine cafes, pubs and restaurants. With Largs itself only 40 minutes' drive from Glasgow, there is little danger of even the most curmudgeonly of GPs going stir crazy.

A speedy resolution of the problem would be an ideal New Year tonic for Cumbrae and its residents.