Scotland’s recruitment crisis could lead to a shortfall of more than 900 GPs in the next five years.
The warning from the Royal College of GPs Scotland comes as the scale of the profession’s recruitment and retention problem is revealed by the BMA survey of 15,560 GPs
RCGP Scotland said that if the Scottish population grows at the highest predicted level, 915 extra GPs would be needed to regain and maintain levels of coverage at 2009 levels. Even at the lowest predicted population growth, 563 extra GPs would be needed.
'Doctors were concerned that workload pressures were affecting the quality of care for their patients'
BMA Scottish GPC chair Alan McDevitt
BMA Scottish GPs committee chair Alan McDevitt said: ‘Our national survey of GPs found that doctors were concerned that the pressures of their workload were affecting the quality of care for their patients. One in three said they were hoping to retire in the next five years,’ he said.
He said helping GPs manage their workload and reduce bureaucracy was the first step in making general practice a more attractive career choice for young doctors.
'Face up' to crisis
RCGP Scotland chair Miles Mack called on the Scottish Government to ‘face up’ to the crisis.
‘There is clearly a desperate need for all Scottish politicians to put general practice at the front of their thinking … and to emulate the commitments for England that political leaders there have given regarding sourcing and funding a much larger GP workforce.
'The Scottish Government has ... not yet faced up to the crisis in Scottish medical services'
‘The Scottish Government has unfortunately not yet faced up to the crisis in Scottish medical services.’
Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said the number of GPs employed in Scotland had risen to its highest level under the current government and that funding had increased by 10 per cent.
She cited the recently agreed GP contract, which aimed to give the profession stability over the next three years, as a means ton reduce bureaucracy and allow doctors more time with patients.
Ms Robison added the Government would continue to support general practice and work with the BMA and RCGP to find ‘innovate solutions’ to recruitment and retention problems.