Mental health boost needed to help GPs

I've urged the Scottish Government to back calls for specialist mental health practitioners to be introduced into GP surgeries to cut the pressure facing the primary care sector.

Our 2016 manifesto set out plans for the recruitment for 960 mental health professionals to work in GP surgeries across Scotland.

At First Minister’s Questions, I raised concerns over reports that one in four GP training places available in the current recruitment round have not been filled.

We have had repeated warnings from the Royal College of GPs and others that primary care in Scotland is in a state of crisis. Workload is increasing and the steps that the SNP have taken so far have done little to lighten the load.

We need to ensure that primary care is getting the support it needs

One in four patients presenting at their local GP is suffering from a condition relating to mental ill health. Putting specialist practitioners into primary care would be good for patients, who would get the treatment they need more quickly, and good for GPs too.

GPs are often the first point of contact that people have with our NHS and we need to ensure that primary care is getting the support it needs.

Tackling the challenges that the sector is facing means thinking creatively about how we can boost services and mental health is one area where extra investment could make a huge difference to doctors and patients alike.

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