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The waiting game

Scottish Government sees general practice as ‘dispensable’, says RCGP

The chair of RCGP Scotland, Dr Miles Mack, has said that the Scottish Government deems general practice to be ‘dispensable’, in one of the strongest criticisms yet from the college.

Dr Mack said that the Government seems to have a ‘set strategy to erode or end the current role of the GP in family life’.

He made the claims in response to an RCGP Scotland analysis of the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2016/17, which shows a reduction in funding for general practice compared with other areas of healthcare.

Their analysis showed that the real-terms percentage increase for general practice is 1.9%, compared with 3.8% for health boards. 

Dr Mack said: ’Now that we have asked for and gained clarity on 2016/17’s provision for general practice, this draft budget, as we feared, confirms that view. General practice has been deemed to be dispensable in its current form.’

He also warned that patients’ access to GPs will get worse, saying that ‘patients have every right to worry’ with the combination of a rising population and the workforce crisis. He warned that ‘the tipping point is passing rapidly by and increasingly I fear that is deemed acceptable by our elected leaders’.

Dr Mack added: ‘The constant direction of funding to secondary care suggests hospital treatment is preferred and the “2020 vision” of “care at home or in a homely setting” will remain only that.’

The RCGP Scotland chair also slammed the Scottish Government over its recruitment of GPs: ‘The public are repetitively told that Scotland has 7% more GPs since this Government came to power.

’In reality, the Scottish Government’s own figures show they delivered the equivalent of only 35 extra GPs in the whole five years between 2009 and 2013.’

Health minister Shona Robison said: ’The Scottish Government is committed to supporting and enhancing primary care and the work of GPs. To say the service is dispensable or that services are being eroded is wrong.

’Funding for GP services has increased each year under this Government, rising from £704.61 million in 2007/08 to £852.57 million in 2014/15. The new £45 million Primary Care Fund in the 2016/17 draft budget, equates to an increase for primary care of over 6% above the investment in the GP contract from the Scottish Government.

’This percentage uplift for primary care alone exceeds both the 5.5% uplift that we are giving to territorial health boards, and the 3.3% overall increase in health resource spending from the Scottish Government.’


Readers' comments (3)

  • The Scottish Goverment and Shona Robison will soon find out how INDISPENSABLE we are once they have caused collapse of General Practice in Scotland. There is no turning back once this happens and the cost to this country will be enormous, in many other ways than just financial.

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  • blah,blah,blah....and what are we going to do about it...other than 'Swallow it' as usual !

    "I told you so" just doesn't suffice at this point!

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  • The NHS is not like the "virtual " economy of the banking industry. When in trouble the politicians just print more money for them, without substantial collateral. The NHS cannot expect this of them.
    Paper obviously supercedes health, at all levels, and that is all it is paper of virtually no worth whatsoever, despite what one is led to believe.
    GP's are therefore going to have to change the way in which they work to become more efficient, which starts with education.
    Instead of bleating the RCGP, should be training GP's how to work in the real world, instead of their outdated and outmoded manner of education of how to run what is, after all, a business.
    The alternative which appears to be looming large, is to resort to a salaried service driven principally by the inordinate hike in indemnity fees. Presumably a deliberate policy.
    The whole structure of the NHS requires to be addressed.
    1) communication is vital at all levels, proper and common use of technology.
    2) patients to be responsible for getting themselves to medical centres.
    3) improved transportation to those centres.
    4)cross fertilisation of emergency services fire, police ambulance to have common skills
    5) any member of the NHS to have basic and common skills
    6) public health education to do what it says on the tin and teach about common illness and treatments within schools. Involves teachers too taking some responsibility.
    7) diminution of wastage of medication, by recycling.
    8) medication to be issued and if necessary paid for at the point of clinical contact.
    9) generalist practitioners to become the front end and true gatekeepers of hospitals allowing the old seamless care
    10) common skills and cross fertilisation of clinical skills in the majority of healthcare groups, doctors ,dentists, nurses and pharmacy trained individuals. Grade of responsibility according to integration of abilities. A recognisable scale of seniority, both escalating and descending.
    11) common teaching in all medical and health education schools, with no exception
    12) uniform service delivery throughout the country(down to uniforms for each individual, in order that children's books can show what a doctor a ward sister or hca look like)
    13) economy of scale allows improved buying power instead of the necrotising internal market.
    14)a fixed term commitment to the NHS for those trained by the system, or suffer severe financial penalty.
    15) for non contributors to the system, health insurance to become mandatory.

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