Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said that new figures highlighting GPs working up to 90 hours per week show that the SNP are “working doctors until they drop”.
The figures, reported to Mr Cole-Hamilton in response to a parliamentary question, show GPs covering for rising demand and staff vacancies by working long days.
The news comes after the party uncovered GP posts vacant for 2 years and advertised 8 times without success.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
"These new figures provide another worrying snapshot of the pressures that GPs across Scotland are under.
"Working up to 90 hours in a week is the equivalent of 7 consecutive 12.5 hour days. GPs were asked to calculate how many hours they worked in a 'typical' week so there is a real danger that there are instances of GPs working even longer hours.
"The SNP are working doctors until they drop. GPs work incredibly hard but they will be the first to tell you that excessive hours risk patient safety.
“The recent primary care workforce survey showed a consistent decline in the number of full-time GPs and a quarter of practices reporting current GP vacancies - up from just 9% in 2013. This puts the hard working staff that remain under immense pressure.
“Ministers need end the years of systematic disinvestment that doctors have described, as well as deliver the primary care workforce plan that they promised would be published by last December. Ministers must also agree to embed a mental health practitioner in every surgery, ending the scandal of year long waits for this treatment and reducing some of the pressure on GPs."