Scottish GPs need urgent bailout to stop practices going under, warns BMA Scotland

Pressure on GP practices in Scotland is unsustainable and practices will go under without urgent government investment, the GPC Scotland chairman will warn today.

Speaking at the 2016 LMCs conference in Clydebank, near Glasgow on Friday GPC Scotland chairman Dr Alan McDevitt will warn that workload and patient demand are at an all-time high, while practices are struggling to recruit.

GPonline reported earlier this week that a BMA Scotland poll had found one in four practices in Scotland had a GP vacancy, with many unfilled for extended periods of time.

The LMCs conference will debate concerns that Scotland may lack the workforce to implement a breakaway contract that is set to take effect from April 2017.

GPs under pressure

Dr McDevitt will tell the conference: 'General practice is facing some of its toughest challenges, with workload and patient demand at unprecedented levels. GPs across the country are telling us of the rising pressure they are facing, with 26% of GP practices reporting that they are struggling to fill vacancies. This is simply not sustainable.

'We know that practices need tangible support now if they are to weather the storm that general practice is facing. If practices don’t receive that much-needed relief, then soon some will run out of time.'

The GPC Scotland chairman will demand a commitment from the Scottish government to invest in general practice.

He will say: 'Without commitment to substantial new primary care funding and staff, the general practice we all need and value, may not survive. It’s time for politicians to make that commitment.'

GP funding

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: 'The Scottish government is committed to supporting and enhancing primary care and the work of GPs. Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head of the population of the four UK countries and under this government the number of GPs working in Scotland has increased.

'In December, Scotland became the first country in the UK to agree to completely abolish the existing bureaucratic  and burdensome GP payments system, freeing up GPs to spend more time with patients – a decision first announced at the RCGP conference in October, which was strongly welcomed by the RCGP.

'Funding for GP services has increased each year under this government, rising from £704.61m in 2007/8 to £852.6m in 2014/15. The new £45m Primary Care Fund in the 2016/17 draft budget equates to an increase for primary care of over 6% above the investment in the GP contract from the Scottish government.'

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