General practitioner Scotland

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Workload damages patient care, say GPs

Scottish GPC meeting
MCDEVITT (centre): 'The survey reflects the immense pressure GPs in Scotland feel'

GPs in Scotland have sent a clear message that their workload is unsustainable and is affecting patient care.

A BMA survey has shown that more than nine out of 10 GPs believe their workload negatively affects the quality of patient care.

GPs also believe that they should have more time to spend with patients, with just 7 per cent saying consultation times are adequate.

The Scottish Government said action was already under way to address GPs’ concerns, including additional investment in primary care, and an agreement with the BMA on the future direction of general practice.

The 900 GPs in Scotland who responded to the survey were asked to rank the measures they thought should be top priority to help them deliver general practice.

Almost half (44 per cent) said increased funding for general practice was the top priority, while 36 per cent said the most important thing was to increase numbers of GPs. Almost one in five (18 per cent) said longer consultations should be the top priority.

More than half (53 per cent) believe there should be longer consultations for certain groups of patients, including those with long-term conditions, while four in 10 say that all patients need more time with their GPs.


Under pressure

BMA Scottish GPs committee chair Alan McDevitt said the survey reflects the immense pressure GPs in Scotland were feeling.

‘The rising workload is simply unsustainable and something has to change to make general practice in Scotland fit for the future.

'It is essential that the additional £500m per year promised by the Scottish Government is directly spent on supporting general practice.

'Giving us more time with patients, expanding the GP workforce and supporting the practice-based primary care team will help to ensure the quality of care our patients receive remains of a high standard.’

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the BMA and Scottish Government had agreed to work together on reforms to general practice.

‘Through this agreement we are committed to work with the profession to redesign services so GPs are supported by a wider team of health professionals in the community – allowing them to spend more time on consultations with patients.

‘We are significantly increasing the amount of investment going into primary and GP care. However, as we have made consistently clear, we must also reform the way we provide services.

'These reforms, coupled with the additional investment, will help to improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career, reduce workloads, and create a more sustainable workforce.’

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