Comment: GP surgeries facing growing crisis in Lothians

Family doctors are facing growing demands
Family doctors are facing growing demands
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The strain which the city’s growing population is putting on our public services has once again been laid starkly clear by our investigation into GP surgeries.

More than 40 per cent of the family doctors across the region are now putting restrictions on taking on new patients. That isn’t an outright ban on people signing up - surgeries are strongly discouraged from closing their lists altogether - but it is a way of managing their numbers.

So if you look to sign up to a new practice you might, for instance, find you can only do so at a certain time of the week and that only a certain number are taken on each time.

That of course is a good thing, in many ways, for those of us who are signed up with a surgery, and are worried about our doctors being over-run by new patients moving into the area. At least the restricted lists give them some kind of control over the work they take on.

The problem though is that it hides to some extent the struggle which city GPs are facing. The suspicion is that large numbers have effectively closed their lists without having to actually do so, which would inevitably prompt a political outcry. So the problem continues to grow and we store up more problems for tomorrow.