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Patient safety fears could push 'one in ten' GPs into retirement

Nearly a tenth (9%) of Scotland’s GPs plan to leave general practice in 2017 as a lack of resources puts patients’ care at risk, a new survey from RCGP Scotland has revealed.

The poll found that 77% of GPs in Scotland were concerned that they might miss something serious with a patient because of their workload, with 93% of respondents saying that without more resources, waiting times will increase.

The situation looks to get worse, with just under 60% of all GPs in Scotland saying that they would either leave the profession or reduce their hours in the next five years.

RCGP Scotland chair Dr Miles Mack said that GPs were ‘deeply concerned’ about the welfare of their patients as a result of a decade of cuts to the percentage share of funding the service receives, noting that funding hare had fallen to 7.4% in 2014/15 from 9.8% in 2005/06.

Dr Mack said: ’A wholesale departure of GPs now looks likely given the current conditions the profession faces. In that instance, patient safety will clearly suffer.’

He urged NHS Scotland to commit 11% of spending to general practice, in line with NHS England’s rescue package which has promised that funding for the profession will rise to ’over 10%’ of overall spend.

The RCGP said that NHS England was no longer in ‘denial’ about the state of the service and it needed to hear ‘urgently’ that political parties in Scotland replicate what ‘has happened south of the border’.

NHS England published its GP Forward View rescue package last week to mixed reviews. While most GPs welcomed NHS England’s recognition of the crisis facing the profession, many leading GPs said that the reforms offered by the package were ‘too little, too late’.

Readers' comments (11)

  • Sorry Scotland, but the English "rescue package" will turn out to be recycled money removed from previous "headline seeking"plans, little breakdown of where it comes from and as they have told us none is going near the global sum so only available if you do EVEN more on top of the unsustainable and so will be picked up by huge confederations and nothing for the bread and butter practices holding things together still.
    Dr Mack please do not follow your RCGP (England) counterparts; please don't act as a fluffer for the Govt; stand up for your colleagues or very soon you won't have any….
    Med students are watching this and if they have any sense they will run a mile. Last one out etc.etc.

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  • Dr Mack I know SGPC have worked hard at addressing and putting forward proposals on GP workload problems. The warning is that if the Scottish Government don't take these seriously enough to fund changes adequately AND QUICKLY then I for one will be leaving my partnership to work as a locum in order to work more safely and take control. I think many will be like me. It will only take a small proportion of GPs to act this way to completely destabilise the system.

    Scottish Government beware short termism will cost you dearly.

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  • HMG " oh look at all these lazy .over pensioned , uncaring GPs leaving their patients in the lurch. It's nothing to do with us. We'll just get the fantastically well run private sector to take over ". Job done . The 60 year old mistake is eradicated.

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  • Actually it is not an evil Tory or indeed SNP plot. I am sure they would love to have a solution, and more money is not it.
    The public has been assured for years that it is their right to have open-ended and free access to health care no matter how minor or inappropriate their ailment is.
    Until the politicians have the courage to disabuse them of this, the unsustainable demand will rise inexorably.

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  • "Could"," maybe","considering "....these headlines are becoming a bore.

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  • not a crisis until it happens

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  • Agree with 1.31.
    However the public perceive and use the NHS as free at the point of want rather than need.
    The public "want" is uncontrolled and the underfunded NHS public health and social care are making GPs overworked underresourced and ultimate responsibility for the blame game either by patients gmc solicitors and government. I have had enough of the local black hole called the acute trust that is in special measures that endangers all local clinicians.add another doc to the

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  • We need cross party management of funding for the NHS and immediate removal of crisis deniers and Jeremy Hunt
    We need review bodies whose recommendations can not legally be ignored and fair treatment of all nhs staff with respect from politicians Do not a use a monopoly to leave the service perilously close to collapse whilst asking staff to work in borderline unsafe situations then attack them when errors are made

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  • just 1 in 10?

    is that higher than normal turnover ?

    if it was 1 in 3 then that might pose an issue but 1 in 10 can be accommodated.

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  • Could we all be honest
    The job stinks and is full of real risk
    I liken modern GP land to a lovely meal with friends starter lovely wines delicious food amazing puddings then brandies and port with lovely conversation
    Now imagine it all out in a bucket no talking and it all must be eaten in 3 minutes or you will be shot
    Same food and wine but it would be torture
    My friends General Practice stinks high risk no time for shit and decking income
    The worst part is like hell will be if you go there

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  • Please note, this is not the Dr David Hogg who is a member of the RCGP Scotland council

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