SNP accused of ‘total failure’ as GP practice numbers fall

Miles Briggs criticised SNP 'failures' on Health
Miles Briggs criticised SNP 'failures' on Health
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The Scottish Government has presided over a six per cent fall in GP Practices and a 12 per cent increase in practice lists over the last decade.

Figures referenced by the recent Audit Scotland report show that the Scottish Government has presided over a six per cent fall in GP Practices and a 12 per cent increase in practice lists over the last decade.

The figures come on the back of statistics showing that thousands of GPs have left the country to work abroad since 2008.

READ MORE: Shifts unfilled as GPs put under ‘tremendous strain’

In addition, a BMA Survey of GPs in December 2016 found that 70 per cent felt they experienced significant work-related stress and 15 per cent felt their stress was unmanageable.

More than half reported their workload had a negative impact on their commitment to their job.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “These figures demonstrate the total failure on health by the Scottish Government but tragically signal further disaster for primary care, the fundamental building block of our health service.

READ MORE: NHS Lothian sees spending on locum GPs rise nine fold

“The simple fact is that if our GPs continue to be driven away from Scotland’s health service practice lists will continue to grow and patients will have to wait longer for essential treatment.

“It is no surprise the public health isn’t improving and waiting time targets are being missed.

“Once again I call on the Scottish Government to prioritise primary care and commit 11 per cent of all NHS spending directly to GP Practices.

“Our ‘Save our Surgeries’ campaign has highlighted all these issues and will continue to promote solutions to help support our GPs.”

Earlier in the week, the Scottish Government was quick to highlight the positive aspects of the report, with SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison saying ministers are working to develop a medium-term financial framework and an initial health and social care workforce plan which will be in place by early 2018.

Ms Robison said: “Under this administration there have been ­significant improvements in Scotland’s health system, ­driven by our clear vision for the future of the NHS in Scotland.

“Life expectancy is rising, our A&E departments have outperformed the rest of the UK for over two-and-a-half years, and survival rates for chronic conditions such as heart disease have improved.

“We have long been realistic about the challenges for the NHS and the need for change.

“Alongside record investment of over £13bn, including almost half a billion pounds of NHS spending being invested in social care services alone, we are looking at new ways of delivering services.”