Tories call for GP funding increase in Scotland

The RCGP has welcomed a call by the Scottish Conservatives for general practice to receive at least 10% of NHS funding.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson
Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson

Tory leader Ruth Davidson and health spokesman Donald Cameron made the call on a visit to an Edinburgh practice.

The RCGP has repeatedly criticised the SNP government for failing to raise GPs’ share of the health budget to 11%.

General practice’s share of funding fell from 9.8% in 2005/6 to a record low of 7.4% in 2014/15 and will fall further this year, the college has said.

Ahead of the general election in May, SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to increase primary care funding and raise general practice’s share of health spending.

GP funding

The Tories said they would produce an investment plan for general practice to increase funding each year to reach 10% by 2020.They would also invest in IT and infrastructure, set training and recruitment targets and develop local primary care clusters.

Ms Davidson said: ‘The SNP has shown it simply can’t be trusted with our NHS. All over Scotland, families are finding it more and more difficult to get an appointment at the GP. Yet, instead of dealing with this growing crisis, we have a first minister and a government focusing on a second referendum on independence. It is a complete disgrace.

‘Our GP plan would ensure that people got the local NHS service they want. We now need a Scottish government with a plan to deliver. Let’s see Nicola Sturgeon get back to the day job and focus on delivering a better NHS, not a second referendum that hardly anybody wants.’

NHS budget

RCGP Scotland chairman Dr Miles Mack said: ‘RCGP Scotland welcomes the Scottish Conservatives' view that general practice should be a core priority for this parliament and receive "at least 10%" of NHS Scotland funding.

‘RCGP Scotland has been calling for such an approach for almost three years. We have been advocating for the decade’s worth of cuts to the percentage share of NHS Scotland budget that general practice receives to be reversed, through incremental increases, until it reaches 11% of the budget. As the first minister said of the current provision, on 28 April, "we’ve got to increase that percentage".

‘The benefits of that change in trend will be felt throughout the NHS. Until general practice is properly funded to allow patients the appropriate alternative, A&E departments, for example, can continue to expect increases in patient numbers, with subsequent pressures and effects on target achievement.’

Photo: Scottish Conservatives

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