GP employment in Scotland was the healthiest of any of the four home nations in 2011 with around 0.9 GPs for every 1,000 patients, according to a wide-ranging longitudinal study of the NHS.
The Nuffield Trust study of full-time equivalent GPs found the Scotland had 1,407 patients per GP in 2011, with England at 1,504, then Wales at 1,641. Data wasn’t available for Northern Ireland.
The North East of England was the best performing region, with only 1,360 patients per GP.
The study – ‘The four health systems of the United Kingdom: how do they compare?’ – evaluated how the national health systems in each country have changed before and after devolution.
It found that health service investment across the UK has doubled between 2000/01 and 2013/13, but austerity has slowed spending in the last three years and decreased investment in Wales.
It found that satisfaction with general practice remained high, with patients in the North East of England most satisfied with ‘the way the NHS’s local doctors or GPs run nowadays’.
Around 80% of respondents in the North East of England were satisfied or very satisfied, followed by Wales with 78%, 76% in England and 68% in Scotland.
Andy McKeon, senior policy adviser for the Nuffield trust said: ‘Our study period coincided with the biggest sustained injection of cash the four health systems have ever seen, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that staff numbers have increased and performance has improved.’
He said that despite differing policies, no one health service was consistently performing best, adding: ‘The North East’s remarkable progress on reducing avoidable deaths and improving life expectancy suggest that local conditions, such as funding and the quality of staff are the real determinants of health service performance.’
Source: Nuffield Trust – Single Use