The recent closure of her GP's clinic, says Melanie Reid, brings a future of impersonal, rationalised healthcare to her village.

Jennifer Foster had been in place for 20 years. For Melanie, who broke her back in a riding accident in 2010, and who is tetraplegic, the loss is particularly poignant.

"Since my accident, with her on my side, I never felt alone," she says.

Jennifer Foster made regular visits to the hospital in Glasgow where Melanie spent a year in treatment. For eight years she was reachable by phone and email. She made visits on her afternoon off, "sorting me out physically and mentally." And she did the same for all her other patients.

She adds, "Jennifer Foster didn't retire. We didn't have to lose her. She quit in frustration and exhaustion at the heath authority's refusal to support her. The local health board, Forth Valley, changed its policy and agreed to a pharmacy application in the village. Thus in a stroke the small surgery's pharmacy became unviable. Without its vital income from dispensing protected, it cannot continue."

With the GP's departure, Melanie and her neighbours face the same future as much of the rest of the country: one of fractured service delivered by locums. Who, by the way, in one similarly isolated area, cost the health service £50,000 a month to deliver.

Melanie Reid's article was published in the Sunday Times Magazine in May 2017