GPs warn limited resources must not undermine primary care

The Scottish government must ensure tightening resources in the NHS do not undermine primary care, GPC Scotland has warned.

Dr Dean Marshall told the Scottish conference of LMCs in Clydebank on Thursday that there would be increased competition across the NHS for scarce resources.

Several motions echoed the warning. One from Lanarkshire LMC warned services must not be shifted to primary care without extra funding.

Dr Marshall said: ‘For many patients their GP is their first and only contact with the NHS. We have already proven that investing in general practice can deliver real savings for secondary care.

‘Just look at the impact that the QOF is having on reducing hospital admissions.'

He called for the Scottish government to listen to general practice, and seek the profession's advice how to improve efficiency and quality.

Dr Marshall said: ‘General practice is your biggest asset - value it, protect it, nurture it, look to us for the answers, not as an excuse for the problems.'

Meanwhile, Lanarkshire LMC member Dr Vijay Sonthalia proposed a motion calling for all new work transferred to primary care to be accompanied by an equivalent transfer of resources.

‘Primary care has always been good value for money,' he said. ‘It doesn't require a genius to work out that in a tight financial climate it makes common sense to shift work into primary care.

‘But any transfer of work that is driven simply to cut costs, that's not supported by the infrastructure, and does not take into consideration patient interest and safety... is clearly a dangerous thing.'

A motion demanding that essential frontline services are not withdrawn or reduced because of financial constraints was also unanimously passed.

Dr Scott McCulloch, a member of Ayrshire and Arran LMC warned that any cuts in frontline services would mean the vulnerable in society would suffer. ‘The old, young and poor will suffer, we must ensure frontline services are protected,' he said.

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