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RCGP to present petition warning budget cuts are putting patients at risk

RCGP Scotland is to present a petition to the Scottish Government protesting its plans to freeze GP funding, which the college says will exacerbate access problems have left one in four patients waiting more than a week for an appointment.

A ComRes poll commissioned by the college found 71% of Scottish patients wanted investment to move from other parts of the health service into general practice, and the college will be taking a petition signed by ‘tens of thousands’ of patients to the office of Scotland’s first minister on Tuesday.

The petition opposes draft budget proposals by the Scottish Government that will see GP funding frozen for 2015/16, which the college says will amount to a 2.2% budget cut with inflation.

Dr John Gillies, chair of RCGP Scotland, said: ‘When the crisis in general practice clearly shows patient safety to be under threat, it is incumbent upon the Scottish Government to act.

‘Further cuts to the resources GPs have with which to care for patients can only exacerbate the problem. A real terms drop in funding share of 2.2%, as outlined in the Draft Budget 2015/16 can only deepen the current, very real crisis.

‘This drop stands directly against the 71% of Scots who would like to see funding move from other parts of the health service to general practice.’

Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said: ‘Despite cuts in our overall budget from Westminster, the Scottish Government has protected and increased the resource budget for NHS Scotland and GP funding is now at a record level.’

And added: ‘This year our £8.2m increase in funding for the GP contract was double that recommended by the GP’s pay body, and was warmly welcomed by the BMA.’

‘We will go on working with GPs and stakeholders across Scotland to improve primary care services even further and I was happy to meet with the RCGP Scotland Chair last week where we discussed all of the issues raised by the survey.’