Scots LMCs call for more funding as workload soars

GPs have demanded that the Scottish government keeps its promise to invest more resources in primary care, warning that workload has reached dangerous levels.

Dr O'Brien: GPs undervalued
Dr O'Brien: GPs undervalued

GP leaders demanded long-term investment in primary care, together with an increase in GP numbers, at the Scottish LMCs conference in Clydebank on 15 March.

Speaking at the conference, Scottish health minister Alex Neil said primary care needed investment and recognised GPs' rising workload.

'You'll say that's a typical politician's platitude,' he said. 'But there is no doubt in my mind that we need to put more resources into primary care. Come and tell us what it is you need to get the workload on to a more sustainable footing. Don't wait for next year's negotiations.'

LMCs backed a motion that said the Scottish GMS deal for 2013/14 'does little to help with the overwhelming workload now faced by general practice'.

Ayrshire and Arran LMC secretary Dr William McAlpine, who put forward the motion, said: 'Every GP practice will have to work harder. Most of us already work 12-hour days. The 10-minute consultation is at breaking point.

'We have heard the rhetoric that the minister is sympathetic to the view that we should be moving resources as well as work into primary care. But what we need to do is see some action. We need to have more GPs, more practice nurses.'

Dr Stephen Haigh of Lothian LMC said: 'This is the conference to stop just talking about workload and to make the clear link between workload and patient safety.'

GPs unanimously backed a motion urging the Scottish government to resource primary care 'properly so that it can meet the increasing healthcare needs of the Scottish public'.

Dr Mary O'Brien of Tayside LMC said general practice delivers 90% of patient contacts in the NHS for just 10% of the overall NHS budget.

'Surely 90% of a patient's care in a year should receive more funding than it costs me to insure my cat,' she said.

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