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End negative perception of GPs, say MSPs

‘Badmouthing’ of general practice in medical schools is leading to GPs being viewed as second class and is likely undermining attempts to boost recruitment, a Government committee has warned.

In a letter to Scottish health secretary Shona Robison, the Health and Sport Committee said while some work was being done to address the portrayal of general practice as ‘unattractive’, efforts to boost recruitment are ‘unlikely to be successful without first addressing the negative perception of general practice within medicine’.

The committee also raised concern about the ‘motivation’ of GPs in leading a multi-disciplinary team under new proposals for GP hubs.

The committee had heard that around 25-30% of the current GP workload could be done by other staff including nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

All those giving evidence had agreed that the GP should be the ‘glue holding the team together’.

But the committee said: ‘We would welcome from the Scottish Government detail in relation to the mechanism by which they will ensure full co-operation and participation from GPs in the development and delivery of a true multi-disciplinary team partnership.’

Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said the profession was working with the Scottish Government to tackle many of these issues through the contract negotiations.

‘This contract forms part of a wider vision of primary care that is based on an expanded multidisciplinary team.

‘Patients will continue to be able to access their GPs but will have greater choice about who is most appropriate for their needs.’

He added the strategy would help ease workload pressures which are contributing to problems recruiting and retaining GPs.

The warning comes after a landmark review into attitudes to general practice in English medical schools said issues with ’tribalism, negativity and finance’ are deterring students who see it as a ’low status’ option.