SNP’s plan to tackle GP shortage unveiled in Scotland | UK | News

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Health Secretary Shona Robison unveiled a proposal which aims at tackling the shortage of GPs

The incentives are the Scottish Government’s latest bid to tackle a growing problem that is seeing patients turned away from surgeries because of a staffing crisis.

Health Secretary Shona Robison unveiled the proposals  as part of a drive to hire an extra 800 GPs within a decade. 

Doctors’ leaders have warned that GP services are in the midst of the worst crisis for a generation, with one in 11 surgeries closing or restricting new patient lists.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has projected a shortfall of 856 family doctors by 2021, up on previous estimates. 

The latest workforce survey of GPs shows the number of full-time equivalent doctors declined by 2 per cent between 2013 to 2015, with one in five practices having a vacancy.

Staffing levels will get worse in the years to come with more than a third of GPs aged over 50.

Ms Robison also said £7.5 million would be spent in 2018-19 to recruit and retain GPs, particularly in rural areas.

Support will be available for all 160 rural and remote practices, including the £10,000 payments for the taking up their first post in a rural practice and relocation packages of up to £5,000. 

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Scottish patients are turning away from surgeries because of a staffing crisis

Speaking at a special British Medical Association (BMA) conference in Clydebank, near Glasgow, Ms Robison said a proposed new GP contract would ease workload pressures and make general practice more attractive.

But she stressed the Scottish Government wanted to go further and the new incentives “should have a real impact”.

Ms Robison added: “Ultimately, this will ensure people across Scotland continue to receive a high standard of care whether they’re in Newtonmore or Newton Mearns, and that those who need to see GPs are given the time they need.”

Further details will be in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming primary care workforce plan. 

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The RCGP has projected a shortfall of 856 family doctors by 2021

There are currently about 4,900 GPs in Scotland. 

Earlier this month it emerged the government’s three-year £2.5million GP Recruitment and Retention Programme had so far lured just18 doctors.

Other measures announced yesterday include funding of £100 million next year to support the new proposed GP contract – which will be voted on by medics over the next few weeks.

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