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Scottish Greens call for increase in GP funding

The Scottish Greens have called for a vote in Holyrood this week to boost funding for GPs in an effort to tackle a ’crisis’ in retention and recruitment.

The party pointed to figures from the 2017 Primary Care Workforce Survey that showed that the number of full-time equivalent GPs fell by 4% since 2013.

It said that despite the Scottish Government’s health and social care integration programme – which included a £550m funding package in 2018/19 – GP surgeries are still struggling to provide necessary care due to a lack of resources.

Earlier this year, the RCGP warned that the new GP contract could exacerbate health inequalities in Scotland because many deprived areas have not received additional funding.

It came after a report from the Public Health Observatory found gains in mortality rates stalled in Scotland between 2012 and 2017 – most severely in deprived areas.

Meanwhile, a government-funded scheme to recruit GPs to work in remote areas of Scotland attracted 14 GPs by the end of March. If successful, the pilot could be extended to other areas of Scotland that struggle with recruitment problems.

Alison Johnstone, parliamentary co-leader of the Scottish Greens and Lothian MSP, said: ’The Scottish Government’s health and social care strategy encourages healthcare provision within communities, yet the resources are not being made available to support GPs to deliver the quality of care that people expect.

’It’s acknowledged that funding GPs is more cost effective than the alternative, which sees patients heading directly to A&E departments and increasing pressure on secondary care, but the health secretary seems reluctant to make the necessary investment which will, ultimately, pay for itself.

’The BMA and RCGP have both called for 11% of the NHS budget to be allocated to GPs. This week I’ll bring a vote to parliament, urging ministers to ensure that adequate support is urgently made available.’