SCOTLAND Small turnaround in GP spending
28 December 2016
The Scottish government’s Draft Budget has shown a slight upwards change in the share of the NHS’s budget put aside for general practice.
This is in contrast to previous years: between 2005/06 and 2015/16 the share of NHS Scotland funding for general practice services fell from 9.8% to just 7.2%. We hope this relatively small but very necessary upturn could signal that at last the crisis is being recognised and may eventually be fully addressed.
“Having suffered eleven years of cuts to the percentage share of NHS Scotland funding delivered to general practice, it is encouraging to see that trend reversed, no matter how relatively small the change may be. We will need more than encouragement, however, if the long term future of the general practice service is to be secured for the future,” said Miles Mack, Chair of RCGP Scotland.
“On 15 October, the First Minister announced that ‘By 2021, an extra half billion pounds will be invested in our GP practices and health centres.’ Today, while we are pleased to see that promise beginning to be delivered, it should be clear that there is a long way to go before practices can finally gain the funding they need to safeguard patient care.
“We see regular reports of worsening situations for patients and GPs across the country. Queues form to try to register with a practice with many patients often left disappointed. Practices now tell us of four week waiting times to get to see a GP. Meanwhile, GPs are working twelve hour days and more to try to meet the demands for their care.
“We will continue to meet with Scottish Government to discuss how general practice can be further protected and can build on this announcement, so that GPs can keep going and so that students see general practice for what it should be, a valued jewel in the crown of the NHS, with a secure future.”