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Extra £2m boost promised to recruitment plan

The Scottish Government has pledged more than £2m in funding for recruitment and retention projects over the next two years.

It said this would include the development of a locum pool of retired GPs in Lothian, a GP recruitment programme run by the RCGP and a Scottish Rural Medicine Collaborative in seven health boards to bring together recruitment strategies and support networks for GPs working in remote and rural areas.

Health minister Shona Robison said the money, which is coming out of the Government’s £85 million Primary Care Fund, ‘demonstrates [its] commitment to supporting and developing local GP and primary care services’.

But the announcement comes as the Primary Care Workforce Survey, published today, showed that the number of GPs in Scotland has fallen, with 90 fewer whole-time equivalent (WTE) GPs in 2015 compared to 2013.

Mr Robison said that as the survey shows, ‘there still remain challenges in recruiting and retaining doctors to work in general practice’.

She said: ‘While Scotland continues to have the highest number of GPs per patient in the UK, we still need to act now to redesign the way care is provided in the community to ensure these services are sustainable in the future.’