Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said the Scottish Government's repeated failure to publish the primary care section of its NHS workforce plan is "yet another let down" for staff, highlighting that it is now months late.
The first two parts of the 2017-18 National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan were late and now the Scottish Liberal Democrats have highlighted that Part 3 wasn't even published before the year ended.
The Scottish Government committed to publish the plan in spring 2017, before pushing this part of it back to later that year, then early 2018, and then March. It still has not materialised.
Over the weekend, Scottish Liberal Democrats uncovered GPs working up to 90 hours in a typical week and increasing numbers of GPs taking early retirement.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
"Ministers should be embarrassed that they have failed to complete the 2017/18 National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan within the year.
"Fifteen months ago, when doctors said they were 'stretched pretty much to breaking point', the First Minister told them the workforce plan would ensure the NHS had the right mix and numbers of staff. It is appalling that those working in primary care are still waiting to see the detail of how the government will help them.
"This plan matters because it is meant to set out ministers' strategy to recruit and retain GPs and boost mental health provision within primary care.
"This is yet another let down for staff and a continuation of the Scottish Government's painful record of workforce planning. We have GPs working up to 90 hours in a typical week, a quarter of practices have vacancies and the SNP Government has become increasingly reliant on agencies and the goodwill of staff.
"This can't go on. We need to see the strategy for repairing primary care. The Health Secretary has a duty to explain to patients and under pressure staff exactly how she will solve this workforce crisis."