Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton today said that calls for extra support for primary care have fallen on deaf ears as new figures showed a fall in the number of GPs working in Scotland.
The Primary Care Workforce Survey Scotland 2015 revealed that almost 100 GPs were lost from the workforce between 2013 and 2015.
All NHS boards but one also reported problems in filling out of hours shifts, with nine boards having to take action to address GP shortages on a weekly basis.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“SNP Ministers have been told time and again that we face a crisis in primary care services and these figures are hugely concerning. Between 2013 and 2015 the number of GPs in Scotland fell and the number of vacancies doubled. NHS boards across the country have been forced to scrabble around for emergency out of hours cover.
“This week I met with doctors and staff at a GP surgery in my constituency who were at their wits end. They are working their hardest but there are only so many hours in the day and their lists have grown and grown. We know this is happening across Scotland too. The Royal College of GPs have warned we could be hundreds of GPs short by the end of this parliament but the Scottish Government has not got to grips with the challenge primary care is facing.
“The prescription for primary care is clear – additional funding in GP services and support for doctors, nurses and practice staff who are often our first port of call when we are unwell.”