Scottish GPs have called for the formation of new GP practices to deal with a growing rise in demand and for town planners to be forced to take into account pressures on local health services.
BMA Scotland has warned that increasing list sizes are hampering patients’ ability to access local GP services, as the 2011 Census data showed that Scotland’s population is now at its highest-ever level.
GPs are now calling for the Scottish Government to make it mandatory for town planners to consider the impact of new housing developments on local health services. They also want the Government to provide support to create new practices in areas where there is significant population growth.
Scotland’s population in mid-2011 reached 5,254,800, which the highest ever recorded and marks a population growth of 190,600 people since 2001.
Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘General practice is very much at the heart of local communities and the care we provide is valued by our patients. Everyone needs to have access to their GP at some point in their life, from immunisation of babies to care for the elderly. If we are to improve access and provide the range of services that patients need, then we have to make sure we have the capacity to deliver.
‘At present there is no requirement for planning departments to consider the impact of new housing developments on local health services, we believe that it would be common sense to include this as part of the planning process.’
Scotland has seen a continuous increase in the population in recent years, partly because there were more births than deaths, but mainly because more people have moved to Scotland than have left, the Scottish Government said.
The news comes as BMA Scotland negotiations with the Scottish Government led to a separate GP contract deal for Scotland which will see Scottish GPs safeguarded from many of the proposed impositions that England’s GPs are now facing for 2013/14.