One in seven practices in Scotland has a long-term GP vacancy

One in seven practices in Scotland has at least one GP post that has been vacant for six months or longer, a BMA poll reveals.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt (Photo: Douglas Robertson)
GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt (Photo: Douglas Robertson)

Of 514 practices that responded to a BMA GP vacancy survey - representing more than half of the 963 GP practices in Scotland - 74 (14%) reported at least one GP post that had been unfilled for six months or more.

A total of 125 posts were reported vacant for six months or more across these practices - suggesting that most have more than one GP position they are struggling to fill.

Across the 514 practices that responded, 171 vacancies were reported in total. These were spread across 130 practices - meaning one in four (26%) of practices in Scotland has at least one vacancy.

GP vacancies

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: 'The fact that more than one in four GP practices in Scotland had a vacant position in this snapshot survey is extremely troubling. It indicates that the recruitment and retention problems in general practice are not improving.

'Every unfilled vacancy puts more and more strain on remaining GPs who must struggle to cover the gaps in their practice while also coping with increasing demands on GP services.

'The BMA is currently negotiating a new contract for GPs in Scotland, and addressing recruitment and retention issues is one of our top priorities.  But in the meantime, we need to ensure that practices are being supported to deal with the problems they are currently facing. That is why the BMA is holding a speed dating event for GPs to try and bring together practices looking to recruit and GPs looking for posts.

'However, there is much more work to do to ensure that general practice is an attractive career choice for doctors.'

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