Time for SNP to back General Practice

30 Aug 2016

The Scottish Conservatives are today calling on the SNP Government to focus on the growing GP crisis, by backing extra funding for general practice.

At a visit to Southside Surgery in Edinburgh, party leader Ruth Davidson and health spokesman Donald Cameron outlined a new commitment to increase the share of NHS funding in General Practice to at least 10% all health spending by 2020.

Current figures indicate that less than 8% of health funding makes it to general practice – leading to massive increased pressure for family doctors and a growing crisis in recruitment and retention.

Yet studies have shown that, not only will extra funding address the GP crisis, it will also support the NHS more generally, by ensuring more patients do not need to access costly secondary care.

The Scottish Conservatives are today calling on the SNP Government to adopt a five-point strategy for GP services in Scotland.

1.     Produce a General Practice Investment Plan alongside the 2017/18 Draft Budget.
2.     Set a target for the GP budget share to increase gradually each year to reach at least 10% by 2020.
3.     Set clear GP training, recruitment and retention targets to ensure a sustainable GP service.
4.     Outline a long-term vision for primary care involving GPs, community nurses, health visitors, mental health professionals and pharmacists working in local clusters.
5.     Invest in IT infrastructure and premises to make GP services fit for the 21st century.

Speaking at Southside Surgery, Shadow Health Secretary Donald Cameron said: 

“We are facing a GP crisis right across Scotland and it is time the SNP acted. Extra funding for general practice would help us deliver a better local service for people right across Scotland, so you can actually get an appointment when you need it, instead of waiting at the end of a phone line.”

“It would ensure general practice could employ more family doctors, more practice nurses and more mental health professionals in your community – giving patients the service they need, on their doorstep.”

“In the short-term, it would help ease the GP crisis, improving recruitment and retention of doctors. In the longer-term, it would ensure more patients can be seen locally, thereby easing pressure on our hospitals.”

“Whether it’s seeing your family doctor in an emergency or just a routine appointment with a nurse, a GP surgery is quite simply at the frontline of the NHS. We need General Practice to do more in our healthcare system. It’s only fair that, if we’re going to ask them to do more, more of the NHS pot goes their way.”

Party leader Ruth Davidson added:

“The SNP has shown it simply can’t be trusted with our NHS. All over Scotland, families are finding it more and more difficult to get an appointment at the GP. Yet, instead of dealing with this growing crisis, we have a First Minister and a Government focussing on a second referendum on independence. It is a complete disgrace.

“Our GP plan would ensure that people got the local NHS service they want. We now need a Scottish Government with a plan to deliver. Let’s see Nicola Sturgeon get back to the day job and focus on delivering a better NHS, not a second referendum that hardly anybody wants.”