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Scottish government sees general practice as “dispensable” says RCGP

29 January 2016

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The Scottish government views the general practice service as “dispensable” and access to GPs will consequently get much worse, a chief from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Scotland has argued.

This comes after the government announced in their Draft Budget that out of a £13 billion budget for health, general practice will receive £13 million extra in real terms, a rise of 0.1% of the budgetary allocation for health to the specialty that sees 90% of patient contact with the NHS, to deal not only with our rising population and the effects of medical inflation but also with the GP workforce crisis and the number of consultations which has increased by 11% in ten years, the RCGP explained.

In response, Dr Miles Mack, stated: “It is now clear that the Scottish Government’s true vision is one in which the public should expect to get by without GPs as their prime provider of care. We very much value and acknowledge the benefit of wider open access to other health professionals but the pressures presented by changing demographics and resulting complexity cannot be safely, effectively or efficiently addressed solely by this model and place emphasis again on the need to protect the GP Practice model.

“GPs have tried to be as constructive and optimistic as they can be in this situation. RCGP Scotland has been asked by Scottish Government to offer solutions and we have done so,” he added, referring to the manifesto: A manifesto for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election and with A blueprint for Scottish general practice.

Instead of solutions there have been trials of new models of care with “absolutely no” detail given or progress reported and hollow reassurances. For example that Scotland has 7% more GPs since this government came to power. “In reality, Scottish Government’s own figures show they delivered the equivalent of only 35 extra GPs in the whole five years between 2009 and 2013,” Mack said.

He continued: “The constant direction of funding to secondary care suggests hospital treatment is preferred and the ‘2020 vision’ of ‘care at home or in a homely setting’ will remain only that. It appears that the Scottish Government views general practice as dispensable.”