At a hearing of the Scottish Parliament health committee this week, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP asked health secretary Shona Robison whether she agrees with doctors that Scotland is facing a GP crisis.
Her answer? No.
This came minutes after British Medical Association’s Dr Alan McDevitt of the British Medical Association told MSPs that a GP “crisis is now manifest”.
To be fair to the Cabinet Secretary, this is only one doctor. One who represents the medical trade union, but still, just one voice
It’s not like anyone else has raised concerns over GP services under strain.
Oh, hang on a minute:
The truth is that the SNP government has been warned repeatedly that unless we see urgent action to boost GP services, Scotland will be hundreds of doctors short by 2020.
Training places are not being filled. Practices are seeing more and more patients arriving at their doors. We are short of locum cover and health boards have been forced to take some surgeries into their control.
There are no easy solutions here. But turning this around starts with increasing investment in primary care.
The amount of the NHS budget that is spent on GPs has fallen in recent years. Lib Dems want to turn that round. Our plan for the NHS would see increases in the share of the NHS budget spent on primary care.
This will not solve the problems immediately. But it is a start. And we will make no progress at all while SNP Ministers remain in denial over the challenges that our GPs are facing.
They need to stop talking about a second independence referendum and get back to the day job.