MSP warns of drastic GP practice shortage
James Kelly claims one practice is lost every month
The number of patients per GP practice in Rutherglen and Cambuslang has risen every year for the past decade.
Figures released this week by James Kelly MSP show the number of practices in his Rutherglen constituency has remained the same despite the number of patients going up.
In 2015, there are 16 practices serving a population of 76,248 - a total of 4766 (per practice).
This is an increase from 4478 in 2006, a total rise of 6.4 per cent.
Mr Kelly this week accused the Scottish Government of cutting funding for medical students going into general practice and said GP practices were closing in Scotland at a rate of one every two months.
The Labour politician has now called on the health secretary, Shona Robison MSP, to do more to stop what he describes as a “GP crisis” in the two towns with some people reporting waits of three weeks to see a doctor.
He added: “One of the most common complaints at my surgeries are from constituents about the length of time it takes for them to get an appointment with their GP.
“Some report waiting over three weeks, just for a quick check-up.
“Local GPs provide front-line care, and deal with all sorts of cases, including being people’s first point- of- call for mental health. It’s a vital service which the Scottish Government in Edinburgh should be protecting.
“These figures explain why our local services are under so much strain.
“Scottish Labour earlier this year exposed that there will be a huge number of GPs retiring in the next decade.
“You would therefore think that investing in the next generation of family doctors would be a priority for the Scottish Government.
“Unfortunately, they’ve cut funding for medical students.
“It’s time the SNP woke up and addressed the looming crisis of GP provision and this is particularly important for areas like Rutherglen and Cambuslang, with new developments bringing families to the area, as well as with a growing older population.
“It takes seven years to train a GP – the SNP government needs to wake up and act now.”
However, health secretary Ms Robison told the Reformer yesterday the SNP Government had taken “substantial steps towards a new future for general practice both across Scotland and in local areas like Rutherglen.”
She added: “The number of GPs in Scotland has risen to a record high under this government, Scotland continues to have the most GPs per head of population in the UK, and spending on primary care per head has risen since this government came to office.
“But we know more must be done – both short and long term to meet the challenges the profession faces.
“That is why we have invested an additional £60million in primary care over the next three years.
“This funding was carefully allocated after close work with the BMA and RCGP – who welcomed the focus of the extra investment. A key part of this will be investment around recruitment and retention and ensuring becoming a GP is an attractive career option.”
Crisis James Kelly MSP reckons facilities such as Rutherglen Primary Care Centre are facing a GP crisis