Gov­ern­ment must pro­tect GP ser­vices

Rutherglen Reformer - - Job Spot -

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

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