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GPs in deprived areas of Scotland “failing patients”

20 November 2007

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GPs’ surgeries in deprived areas of Scotland are failing patients, a new study claims.

People in poor parts of the country experience a greater number of psychological conditions and have more problems with long-term illnesses, researchers at Glasgow University found.

Consultations are also shorter than in affluent areas, and doctors claim they are under a greater amount of stress, particularly after long sessions, the report added.

The survey looked at 26 practices across the west of Scotland and questioned more than 3,000 patients and their doctors.

The inequalities are being blamed on the fact that there are the same number of GPs across poor and affluent towns and cities, meaning impoverished places are not being given extra support to cope with the greater number of health problems they face.

Professor Graham Watt, an expert in general practice at Glasgow University, said: “The NHS should be seen at its best in helping the neediest patients, but in this hallmark study that is not the case.

“Despite a decade of political rhetoric about addressing inequalities in health care, the NHS has still not squared up to this problem.

“The system is coping but not succeeding. Patients in deprived areas frequently have psychological problems in addition to their many medical problems.

“If patients cannot be helped satisfactorily with psychological problems, good medical care becomes much less likely.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Glasgow University

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