Letters: Tackling GP shortages should be our priority

Derek Mackay chats with GP David Boag
Derek Mackay chats with GP David Boag
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Writing in the letter section, Jill Stephenson states that supporting GPs should be our top priority. What are your thoughts?

Another day, another tale of woe from the ­Scottish NHS. This time, it is about the shortage of GPs, without whose frontline services patients cannot be referred to specialists.

Almost ten per cent of GP practices are refusing to take new patients. The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland, attributes this to a reduction in funds for GP services.

In 2005/6, 9.8 percent of SNHS funds went to GP services, but by 2015/16 this figure had fallen to 7.2 percent.

In Shetland, nine out of ten practices are run not by GPs themselves but by the relevant health board. But it is not only remote areas that suffer from ­recruitment problems. The worst hit area for GP recruitment is the Lothians.

Last week, a major report showed that the Scottish Government had spent relatively less on health and schooling than was spent on these areas ten years ago. It showed that, ‘if Scottish health spending had kept pace with overall devolved spending, it would by now be around £1 billion higher’.

Some of that money was spent on social care, but far from all. There is money available for spending on GP practices, but the Scottish Government is choosing to spend it on other areas.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh