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Rates of rural Scotland's out-of-hours GPs attacked

GPs in rural Scotland have defended their out-of-hours pay rates after criticism from an

MP.

Angus MacNeil, SNP member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), recently attacked the £1 million bill for covering out-of-hours in the region.

He called for a cut in rates to reflect the fact that GPs saw fewer patients during an average shift than their counterparts in more populated areas.

'There might be an argument in rural areas of fees based on actual demand rather than flat-rate payments,' Mr MacNeil told the BBC.

But Dr Brian Michie, chair of Western Isles LMC, said GPs were worth the payments of up to £1,000 for a night shift.

He explained GPs were expected to cover transport and telephone costs and did not receive sick pay or annual leave. Using locums would cost the health board more, he added.

Dr Michie continued: 'It does amount to £1,000 a night but we've got a group of committed doctors who are here in a remote situation.'

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