Reacting to the latest GP workforce survey, Dr Andrew Buist, Chair of BMA Scotland’s GP Committee, said:
“These are hugely worrying statistics that starkly illustrate the mismatch between demand and GP capacity in Scotland that we have warned of for some time. They show that the WTE number of GPs in Scotland has actually fallen by 3% to the lowest level since this survey was first produced. Put simply – this means there is less GPs capacity available to care for the people of Scotland than at any point since 2009, at the exact time we are seeing substantial increases in demand for care – driven by an increasing and ageing population and ever lengthening waiting lists. It should be little surprise on that basis that some practices are collapsing, with GPs cutting hours or leaving the profession due to workload pressures and patients struggling to get the care they need. This is a vicious circle, as the more pressure increases, the less manageable or bearable working as GP becomes for those left working in practices – forcing them in turn to cut hours or leave. I believe we really are at a tipping point for GPs and practices in every single area of the country and we need urgent action and support.
“We have heard much from the Scottish Government around being on course to increase the GP workforce by 800 by 2027, but that aspiration needs to be matched with investment to grow the WTE workforce, so that capacity in general practice increases as we know it needs to. Unfortunately the lack of investment is being borne out in what we are seeing with these new figures. When the NHS increases the number of hospital posts it expects to have to fund extra salaries for these extra staff, so it follows additional funding is required to increase GP numbers. We need urgent direct investment to allow GP recruitment, we need a focus on easing the workload burden driving so many out of the profession and we need recent funding cuts to be reversed.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.