The latest patient survey in Scotland has revealed that 71% of patients rated GP access as ‘satisfactory’, compared with 81% in 2009/10.
The report acknowledged GP access was an ‘area of relative concern’, with four out of five negatively answering questions around access.
GP leaders said that the findings show the effect the GP recruitment crisis is having on patients.
The Scottish Health and Care Experience Survey 2015/16 described the overall survey findings as ‘positive’, despite the ‘trend’ of declining results.
Overall patient satisfaction remained at 87%, which was no change from last year’s survey.
Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the Scottish GPC, said: ’The findings of this latest survey show that in the vast majority of cases, patients highly value the quality of care that they receive from their GP practices.
’What is concerning though is that the rating for accessing a GP has dropped by ten per cent in the last six years. With a recent BMA survey showing that one in four practices had a vacant medical position, it is likely that this figure reflects the increasingly severe recruitment and retention problems in general practice.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said the overall results were a testament to the ’hard work and dedication’ of the primary care teams, and added they are boosting investment in general practice.
They said: ‘We are investing £85 million over three years through the Primary Care Fund to put in place long-term, sustainable change within community health services. This includes a £13 million investment in developing new ways of working with multi-disciplinary teams both in and out of hours, which will elevate the role of GPs as medical experts in the community.
’We are putting additional resources into GP recruitment and retention, leadership and research, including £2.5 million to examine and take forward proposals to increase the number of medical students choosing to go into GP training.’