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More GP practices needed “to cope with growing population”

8 February 2010

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Areas with growing populations should have more GP practices, according to a Scottish doctors’ group.

The country’s population is expected to increase by 7% in the next 23 years, putting pressure on existing GP practices, the British Medical Association Scotland (BMAS) said.

It warned that average list sizes have grown by nearly 100 since 2006, and said further growth would affect patients’ ability to access services.

It wants the Scottish government to provide support for the creation of new practices where there is “significant population growth”, such as areas with new housing developments.

The BMAS said town planners have a duty to consider the impact of new developments on local health services. It also said that small but growing practices “do not receive sufficient funding to make them financially viable”.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GPs’ Committee, said: “If we are to improve access and provide the range of services that patients need, then we have to make sure we have the capacity to deliver.

“At present there is no requirement for planning departments to consider the impact of new housing developments on local health services. We believe that it would be common sense to include this as part of the planning process.”

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British Medical Association