Rennie: Scotland's GP services at breaking point

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie today said warned that Scotland’s GP services are at breaking point as he met doctors at a surgery in Blairgowrie and set out a four point Liberal Democrat plan to boost primary care.

Mr Rennie’s intervention follows a recent BMA survey which revealed that on 15 February this year, 26% of practices had at least one GP vacancy.
This figure compares to a similar BMA survey published in March 2015 which found that 17% of practices reported having at least one vacancy.
The Liberal Democrat four point primary care plan would:
- Increase the proportion of NHS funding allocated to primary care;
- Treble the allocation to the Primary Care Fund;
- Increase the number of nurses, mental health professionals and support staff in practices;
- Give GPs working in more deprived areas extra resources to help tackle health inequalities.
Speaking after the visit Mr Rennie said:
“Doctors, nurses and patients cannot wait any longer for the SNP to get to grips with Scotland’s GP crisis. Nine years of SNP government has left GP services in need of intensive care.
“A quarter of GP practices are understaffed and the share of funding spent on primary care has been squeezed relentlessly by the SNP. It is no exaggeration to suggest that services in many areas are at breaking point.
“The Royal College of GPs has warned that we face a shortfall of hundreds of doctors by the end of the next parliament. Fewer doctors are choosing to train as GPs and more vacancies are remaining unfilled. The response from the SNP has been utterly timid.
“The Lib Dem four point plan is a clear, costed prescription for GPs that would increase finance and put new staff into surgeries to help manage the increased workload that surgeries are facing. We would treble the Primary Care Fund and ensure that GPs working in more deprived areas extra resources to help tackle health inequalities. That is the right way to get our primary care services fit and healthy.”

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