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One-in-four GP vacancy rate 'extremely troubling'

Alan McDevitt SGPC chair LMC 2015 16x9
MCDEVITT: Recruitment and retention problems not improving

More than one in four of Scotland’s GP practices are reporting at least one GP vacancy, a BMA Scotland survey reveals.

Scottish BMA GPs committee chair Alan McDevitt called the survey results ‘extremely troubling’ and called for more action to make general practice an attractive place to work.

More than 50 per cent of practices (514 out of 963) responded to the survey, which found that, on 15 May this year, 26 per cent had at least one vacancy; of the 171 vacancies reported, almost three quarters (72.9 per cent) had been vacant for six months or more.

Dr McDevitt said: ‘The fact that more than one in four GP practices in Scotland had a vacant position in this snapshot survey is extremely troubling.

'It indicates that the recruitment and retention problems in general practice are not improving. Every unfilled vacancy puts more and more strain on remaining GPs who must struggle to cover the gaps in their practice while also coping with increasing demands on GP services.’

The BMA is negotiating a new contract for GPs in Scotland, and addressing recruitment and retention issues is one of the top priorities.

Dr McDevitt added: ‘In the meantime, we need to ensure that practices are being supported to deal with the problems they face.’

As BMA News has reported, BMA Scotland is holding speed-dating events to bring together GPs looking for posts – and practices looking for GPs.

Part of the BMA’s member-engagement program-me, the aim is to allow GPs and practices to discuss general practice in different settings across Scotland.

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