Government must protect GP services
This week in Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon presented her plan for government for the year ahead, before May’s election.
In the debate which followed, I raised local issues and argued that the Scottish Government needs to do more with its powers.
One of the issues I highlighted was about local GP provision.
This is something I’ve campaigned on for some time.
I know how important local GPs are for people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, especially having out-of-hours care that you can rely on.
Earlier this year, I campaigned for out-of-hours services to be saved at the Victoria, after it was proposed that this lifeline service be moved to the other end of Lanarkshire.
While seeing this transfer halted was a victory for campaigners, I’m very concerned that the Scottish Government’s new consultation on national out-of-hours provision could see the facility under threat once again.
Reformer readers from two weeks ago will be aware of the pressure being mounted on local GPs.
Over the last decade, patient numbers have increased significantly, yet the number of practices has remained static.
From speaking to local GPs, I know how much strain they are being put under.
And from my surgeries, I’m aware of how patients are unhappy with the service they’re getting.
Appointments are much more difficult to secure and GPs have less time.
People go to their GP for a variety of reasons, many because it’s the first point of call for mental health care.
That’s why it’s so important that GPs have that time to provide vital care; and it’s so concerning to watch the Scottish Government cut support for medical students, and investment in GP funding by £1billion since 2006.
When you look at those figures, it is no wonder that there’s a GP crisis right across Scotland.
I also spoke in the debate about funding councils properly.
The Government’s allocation to South Lanarkshire Council over a three-year period has been reduced by £80million, and increasingly I hear at my surgeries about the issues people are having, which can be easily traced back to this huge reduction.
The increase in price for community alarms, pot holes going unfixed, housing repairs taking weeks to carry out: this is the direct result of the SNP’s attitude to funding local authorities across Scotland for years.
My speech in the government programme debate was about using powers to make a difference to change people’s lives.
The Scottish Government must use the powers at its disposal to start making a difference for local people.
On Monday, I attended the AGM of LEAP.
With well over 100 people turning out, the group’s support is strong.
Tribute must be paid to Gilbert Feron and Jim Cunningham for their long service and work which has taken the Cambuslang charity from strength to strength.
It was clear to see the progress R:evolve Recycle is making, a project which promotes innovative ways to re-use clothes – especially after some creative examples were modelled at the meeting.
From speaking to local GPs, I know how much strain they are under
News James Kelly MSP out delivering leaflets on GP’s