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Sturgeon owes GPs an explanation over funding pledge

26 Oct 2017

SoS4

Nicola Sturgeon owes GPs an explanation over an “unequivocal” funding pledge which they say hasn’t been kept.

At First Minister’s Questions today, Ruth Davidson pointed to criticism by the Royal College of GPs of the SNP’s commitment to general practice.

It follows a damning report by Audit Scotland this morning blasting the Scottish Government’s stewardship of the health service north of the border.

On the back of that report, GPs said that “underfunding general practice is the root cause” of many of the problems the NHS currently faces.

And they added: “The First Minister seemed to make a clear and unequivocal promise to patients and the health service at her 2016 conference … It is deeply disappointing that the First Minister’s direction seems not to be being followed.”

Now the Scottish Conservative leader has demanded answers on their behalf, pointing out that a failure to properly support GPs places additional strain on other areas of the NHS.

But instead of addressing the issues, the First Minister instead pointed to the performance of the NHS in England.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“Audit Scotland makes clear that GPs are ‘central’ to the changes that we all agree are needed to improve healthcare.

“But this has been hindered by the continuing difficulties in the recruiting and retaining of family doctors.

“As doctors themselves say, the SNP government has consistently cut the percentage share of health spending going directly to GPs over the last decade.

“That’s why Nicola Sturgeon owes them an explanation.

“She told them unequivocally that 11 per cent of funding would go directly to general practice but, so far, that hasn’t happened.

“Today, GPs have demanded to know why.

“If the First Minister doesn’t want to read the same findings from Audit Scotland this time next year, she has to start taking action now.”