MSP says it’s time for SNP to back general practice

MSP Finlay Carson
MSP Finlay Carson

Galloway MSP, Finlay Carson, is today calling on the SNP Government to focus on the growing GP crisis, by backing extra funding for general practice.

Recent and worrying revelations by the Scottish Conservatives suggest that nearly one in five GPs will be considering retirement over the next decade, average GP lists have swollen by 500 patients in a decade, the number of very elderly patients has soared by thousands, over half of GPs feel their current workload is unmanageable or unsustainable and student doctors are being turned away due to a cap on university places.

General Practice is the cornerstone of primary care, yet current figures indicate that less than 8% of health funding makes it to general practice – leading to massive increased pressure for family doctors and a growing crisis in recruitment and retention.

In a move to help address this growing crisis, the Scottish Conservatives have called on the SNP to adopt a five-point strategy for GP services in Scotland.

1.Produce a General Practice Investment Plan alongside the 2017/18 Draft Budget.

2.Set a target for the GP budget share to increase gradually each year to reach at least 10% by 2020.

3.Set clear GP training, recruitment and retention targets to ensure a sustainable GP service.

4.Outline a long-term vision for primary care involving GPs, community nurses, health visitors, mental health professionals and pharmacists working in local clusters.

5.Invest in IT infrastructure and premises to make GP services fit for the 21st century.

Finlay Carson commented: “We are facing a GP crisis right across Scotland and it’s time the SNP acted. Here in Galloway and West Dumfries I have had discussions with Doctors about the difficulties they are experiencing when trying to attract GPs to come and work here.

“One quarter of practices across Scotland are reporting vacancies, particularly those in rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway.

“Measures taken by the SNP so far have been nothing like enough.

“More needs to be done to assist rural practices with the cost burden of recruitment and during a recent meeting with the Medical Director, Angus Cameron, I re-iterated the concerns of local Doctors and constituents, and put forward some of their suggestions about how to ease the current situation.

“Mr Cameron assured me that the Health Board would be willing to do what they could to assist local practices and I look forward to receiving regular updates on progress.

“But further action is needed, and that is why my Party have announced a five-point strategy that would help ease the GP crisis and improve the recruitment and retention of doctors. It would also ensure that General Practice is properly funded”.