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Scottish GPs have lost out on £658m in funding, Tories claim



GPs in Scotland should have received more than £600m more funding over the last four years, according to opposition politicians.

Research conducted by the Scottish Conservatives has shown that between 2012/13 and 2016/17 GP funding in Scotland did not keep up with GP funding in England. Had this been done, Scottish GPs would have had £658m more today, their report found.

The shadow health secretary, Miles Briggs, accused the SNP of deliberately withholding funding from GPs.

He said: ‘These figures show the SNP has been systematically underfunding our GPs. It is no wonder GP practices are closing across the country as GPs are unable to cope with the financial pressures.’

He also called on the SNP to invest 11% of total NHS funding into GP practices, including new funding resulting from today’s Autumn Budget Statement, after this fell to just 6.95% in 2016/17.

The UK Government has pledged a £20bn increase to the NHS in England for the next five years, some details of which are expected to be revealed in the budget statement later this afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Scottish health secretary, Jeane Freeman, said: ‘Spending [on health and staffing] per head in Scotland is more than 7% higher than the rest of the UK – meaning if we were to follow Tory policy, our NHS would face a cut of more than £850m.

‘Meanwhile, the UK Government’s shambolic Brexit plans threaten to cut NHS staff numbers.

‘As for the UK Budget, any increase announced for the NHS must be delivered as a true net benefit – and not be offset by other cuts to Scotland’s budget as part of a Tory smoke and mirrors exercise.’

The research comes after GPs in Scotland were granted a pay rise in August that fell short of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body recommendation.

GP funding as a percentage of the NHS budget

Year Scotland England

2013/14

7.34%

8.14%

2014/15

7.24%

8.05%

2015/16

7.03%

8.18%

2016/17

6.95%

8.15%

Source: Scottish Conservatives