Doctors warn Scottish Government funding cuts could lead to “the collapse of the NHS”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been warned by doctors that the Scottish Government's cuts to health and social care are "undermining our profession and crushing morale", and could lead to “the collapse of the NHS”.

In a letter seen by The Scotsman and sent to Mr Yousaf, the Grampian Local Medical Committee (LMC) - the representative body for General Practitioners in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray - warned the health secretary that budget cuts have led to “destabilisation” in GP services in Scotland.

The letter further accuses the Scottish Government of “scapegoating” GPs in order to “mask its failings”.

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“General Practice has been operating as an underfunded and understaffed service long before Covid,” reads the letter, signed by the Grampian LMC’s deputy chair, Dr. Mishaim Bhana.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf
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“This, together with a failed General Medical Services contract, an ageing population with increasingly complex health needs, increased demand post-pandemic, backlogs and lengthy waiting lists for patients referred for specialist treatment, are the challenges that

need to be addressed.

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“General Practice has played the vital role of gatekeeper for secondary care services for many years now, despite the huge demands placed upon us.

“Withdrawal of a third of sustainability funding owed to General Practice, together with withdrawal of funding allocated to introduce first contact mental health workers in General Practice has further led to the destabilisation of services across the board as well as undermining our profession and crushing morale.

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“We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has not addressed these factors. Instead, General Practice continues to be scapegoated as a profession in order to mask the failings of the Scottish Government.

“We are extremely concerned that this will eventually result in the failure of General Practice and inevitably the collapse of the NHS.”

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The Scotsman has also seen letters addressed to the health secretary from individual practices across Scotland.

Milton Surgery, in Edinburgh, has told Mr Yousaf that “any denigration of GP services, be it negative press, reduced funding, or non-resourced workload transfer, risks the existence of the NHS”.

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One GP from Falkirk wrote to Mr Yousaf and said their surgery’s non-clinical staff “face abuse on a daily basis” because they cannot give appointments out due to understaffing, and the GP partners “question daily” whether to hand their contract back.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This is yet more evidence of the crisis in primary care in Scotland.

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“Across our country GPs are being failed while the SNP government continues to cut funding to frontline primary care.

“These letters are proof-positive that SNP cuts will lead to fewer GPs, fewer services for patients and poorer outcomes.

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“This is unforgivable. It's time Humza Yousaf did the right thing and resigned."

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I have always been clear that general practice has been open and working throughout the pandemic, that patients who need to see a GP should always be able to do so and that abuse of practice staff is unacceptable.

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“To support GPs, we have recruited over 3,220 healthcare professionals into multi-disciplinary teams working alongside GPs.”



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