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More than one in four Scottish practices have GP vacancy

More than a quarter of practices north of the border have a GP post vacant, according to ‘extremely troubling’ new statistics produced by the BMA.

A BMA workforce survey, which received responses from 500 practices - over half of Scotland’s 975 total practices - found that 26% had at least one vacancy.

Out of these, 41% said a post had been vacant for six months or longer.

The figures show a deepening of the Scottish GP recruitment crisis since the same survey was carried out last year, when 17% of practices reported having at least one GP vacancy.

Speaking ahead of the annual meeting of Scottish LMCs on Friday, Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said the figures showed that ’the Scottish Government needs to commit to improving recruitment and retention, as well as to increased funding to general practice and primary care’.

He 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 we have been warning of have become significantly worse over the last year…

’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 rapidly increasing demands on GP services.’

RCGP Scotland chair Dr Miles Mack said: ’These numbers are very worrying indeed. They illustrate a year’s percentage terms increase in GP vacancies across Scotland of over half again. With the percentage share of NHS Scotland funding spent on GP services falling consistently over the past decade, however, one wonders what other result was expected…

’We are in complete agreement with Dr McDevitt in his call for increased funding. It must go directly to grassroots practices to provide services to patients as a clear signal of the intention to invest further resources in general practice in the future.’

Pulse’s most recent vacancy rate survey, carried out a year ago, found that 9% of all UK GP posts were vacant, a 50% worsening of the year before and at its highest rate ever.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Vacant posts are not the fully story. The real statistic is how many experienced GPs have left and what is the percentage of the inexperienced ones remaining behind? I have seen practices manned with part-time fresh VTS graduates only. Is that even legal as per CQC- well led ?

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  • i don't know why the word 'crisis' is used so much when there isn't one. the definition of crisis in this context is 'are patient services affected to an extent that patients have no health cover'. The answer is no - so there is no crisis. NHS staff will continue to shoulder the burden. If patients are affected and have no GP or no care then you can call it a crisis then as it affects the end user. I do think the word 'crisis' is being over used.

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  • So......????
    The BMA should do more work in making it worth while to be a gp and not just document the death throws of the profession.....

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  • Work to rule. Far better than striking or handing in undated resignation

    GP practices should only carry out X consultations per 1000 patients registered per week (this must include phone consultations as well). That number needs to be defined by the GPC.

    Similarly JDs should only do their contracted hours per week

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  • Tis a crisis!!
    Worked in a practice where there had been NO GPs the previous day and there were none the following

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