‘Funding is nowhere near sufficient’

Rothesay Health Centre, which houses The Bute Practice, has been forced to limit the number of appointments available on Wednesdays due to difficulties in recruiting GPs.
Rothesay Health Centre, which houses The Bute Practice, has been forced to limit the number of appointments available on Wednesdays due to difficulties in recruiting GPs.

The chair of the British Medical Association’s Scottish GP Committee has said that the promise of additional government funding doesn’t go far enough in easing the current GP crisis.

In response to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement of a number of projects to improve GP recruitment and retention over the next two years, Dr Alan McDevitt, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, said: “The Cabinet Secretary’s announcement of additional funding is nowhere near sufficient to make an impact on the problems facing general practice.

“Today’s ISD data show how serious the recruitment and retention issues in general practice have become and it is essential that practices receive the support they so urgently need to prevent them from reaching crisis point.

“We will be watching closely to see where this money is spent at local level, as all too often, funding promised to improve general practice, is redirected to other parts of primary care. This funding must be used specifically to support general practice and improve GP recruitment and retention. The problems practices are facing can only be alleviated if it is targeted directly to general practice. Practices need effective support now, before it’s too late.

Rothesay Health Centre, which houses The Bute Practice, has been forced to limit the number of appointments available on Wednesdays due to difficulties in recruiting GPs over the past 18 months.

Dr McDevitt continued: “In particular, we have a number of concerns with regard to the new GP Development Fellow posts. It is essential that these posts have properly negotiated terms and conditions and can be a true part of a GP career pathway. The BMA believes that any expansion of these posts at a time when practices are struggling to recruit GPs and secure locum services would be hugely counter-productive in relation to the sustainability and survival of mainstream general practice.”