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Scottish Conservatives warn of GP ‘brain drain’



As many as 3,000 doctors have left Scotland to work abroad since 2008, figures released by the Conservative Party suggest.

Scottish shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the numbers were a stark reflection of the ‘brain drain’ seen in the country over the past decade.

The RCGP has warned that Scotland is heading for a shortage of 850 GPs, and BMA figures suggest a third of the country’s GPs are set to retire by 2020.

As part of a ‘Save our Surgeries’ campaign, the Conservatives will be writing to every GP practice to outline their plans, which include calling for an increase in the share of funding direct to general practice to 11%.

The GMC figures show that in the past nine years 5,044 doctors have requested a Certificate of Current Professional Status to enable them to work abroad.

Of those, 2,149 are still connected to a designated body suggesting they are still working in Scotland, the Conservatives said.

The highest rates were seen in 2015 and 2016 when 663 and 612 doctors requested the certificate.

Mr Briggs said the Government must do more to encourage doctors to come back – or not leave in the first place

‘Scotland’s GPs are at the forefront of our NHS – if we as a country can’t get general practice right and working to deliver health services across Scotland then the rest of our NHS will continue to be destabilised.’

A new contract for Scottish GPs is currently being negotiated and further details are expected in November.

Health secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish Government had increased investment in GP services every year since 2007.

She added: ’We are committed to increasing the share of the NHS budget going to primary care in each year of this parliament.

‘Funding in direct support of general practice will increase by £250m by the end of this parliament – as part of our overall commitment to increase primary care funding by £500m.’