Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the results of the official survey of general practice showed the damage inflicted by years of SNP neglect.
The Primary Care Workforce Survey showed:
- a "consistent decline" in the number of full-time GPs;
- a quarter of practices reporting current GP vacancies;
- an increase in the already soaring rate of GP vacancies, with a "large proportion" unfilled for over 6 months;
The news comes just days after the Scottish Liberal Democrats uncovered GP posts vacant for two-years and advertised up to eight times.
Elsewhere, new NHS workforce statistics also showed:
- 4% (430.5 WTE) of consultant posts were vacant, compared to 6.8% a year earlier
- 259 consultant posts vacant for six months or more, an increase of 78 over the past year
- an increasing number of long-term vacant nursing and midwifery posts, with 853 unfilled for more than three months.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
"The scale of the Scottish Government's neglect of primary care is evident in these deeply worrying survey results. It obliterates SNP ministers' claims that there isn't a GP crisis.
"Staff are doing amazing work but the pressure they are being put under is inexcusable. On top of the fact a quarter of surgeries are currently missing at least one GP, I have uncovered posts lying vacant for two years.
"The prescription is clear. We need to see the primary care workforce plan that ministers promised would be published last December. It is time to end the years of systematic disinvestment that doctors have described. Ministers must also agree to embed a mental health practitioner in every surgery, ending the scandal of access to this treatment and reducing some of the pressure on GPs."