Cole-Hamilton: Survey shows patients feeling impact of GP crisis

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said patients were feeling the impact of the GP crisis, after a new survey showed a 7% fall in how people rate the care from their GP practice since 2009/10.

The Health and Care Experience Survey 2017/18 surveyed 130,000 patients. It found 83% rated the overall care provided by their GP practice positively, down 2% compared to 2015/16 and 7% lower than in 2009/10.

Elsewhere, the survey found:

  • the percentage of people who said that they had a say in how their help, care or support was provided decreased from 83 per cent in 2013/14 to 76 per cent in 2017/18;
  • just 37% of carers said they felt supported to continue caring - a decrease of 6%;

BMA Scotland warned on Saturday that doctors are "under pressure like never before", with "patients suffering" and "services deteriorating" because resources aren't keeping up with demand.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

"These results show that patients are feeling the impact of the GP crisis.

"We know a quarter of practices have vacancies, up from just 9% five years ago. GPs are working up to 90 hours in a typical week and under the SNP the number of GPs taking early retirement has trebled.

"That is why we urgently need to see the primary care workforce plan that is months late, despite doctors repeatedly warning that they are busier than ever. We also need to see a mental health practitioner in every local surgery, taking some of the pressure off GPs and ending the scandal of year long waits for treatment.

"Shona Robison has relied on the goodwill of local practice staff to keep services going for far too long."

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