Scottish GPs face 2.2% real-terms funding cut

Scottish GPs face a real-terms budget cut of 2.2% in 2015/16, RCGP Scotland has warned.

Dr John Gillies: warning over impact of cuts (Photo: Pete Hill)

The college has said the Scottish government’s failure to fund GPs adequately is putting patients at risk.

The RCGP said the Scottish government’s own health and experience survey for 2013/14 revealed that almost one in seven patients could not get an appointment with their GP until the third working day, and that on 1.6m occasions patients did not feel they had long enough with their GP.

An RCGP ComRes poll found that one in four people in Scotland could not get a GP appointment within a week, and that 11% of people said they would not wait for an appointment, nor seek treatment elsewhere.

Cuts will deepen GP crisis

RCGP Scotland chairman Dr John Gillies said that while the Scottish government should be acting to deal with the threat to patient safety, budget cuts will instead make the situation worse.

‘A real-terms drop in funding share of 2.2%, as outlined in the Draft Budget 2015/16 can only deepen the current, very real crisis,’ he said.

‘This drop stands directly against the 71% of Scots who would like to see funding move from other parts of the health service to general practice.

‘General practice requires 11% of the NHS spend to adequately look after our patients. If the situation is not rectified, the consequences for the NHS in Scotland and for patients could be even more severe.’

Petition to minister

The RCGP will deliver a petition to Scottish first minister Alex Salmond this week, calling for a better deal for general practice in Scotland.

Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said funding for GPs in Scotland was at a ‘record level’ despite cuts in the government’s overall budget from Westminster.

‘The number of GPs in Scotland has increased by 5.7% under this government and the number of GPs per head of population is substantially higher in Scotland than England,’ he said.

A BMA Scotland spokesman said there as an urgent need for the Scottish government to address issues that were threatening the quality of care that GPs could provide.

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