RCGP Scotland responds to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care's Statement on Health and Care Recovery and Winter Planning

Responding to today's statement to the Scottish Parliament on Health and Care Recovery and Winter Planning by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Dr David Shackles, Joint Chair of RCGP Scotland said:

"The Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland welcomes much of the Cabinet Secretary’s statement on Health and Care Recovery and Winter Planning, and acknowledges the commitment to work together to ensure patients are seen by the most appropriate health care professional this winter.

"However, the unworkable pressures faced by the NHS will require far greater strategy than the measures announced today.

"With the ongoing effects of the pandemic, a possible resurgence of the flu and the cost-of-living crisis, this winter has the potential to be a very challenging one for patients and for health and social care workers alike.

"Whilst we agree that there should be an appropriate mix of appointment types and booking methods available to patients, the ability to provide this is dictated by GP capacity. Our members have already reported experiencing demand to a level previously unheard of and are implementing emergency measures never before seen. They are also reporting shortages of GPs and other staff making this demand even harder to meet.

"It is positive to hear the Cabinet Secretary commit to enabling people to take charge of their own health. We urgently need a national conversation to manage public expectations of what people can reasonably expect from the health service in these conditions.

"Short-term fixes must be paired with long term strategic planning from the Scottish Government to address the profound issues of workload, workforce, and welfare within general practice.

"RCGP Scotland is committed to working constructively with the Scottish Government to ensure that the entire health service is equipped to provide the highest level of patient care, and that these difficult winters do not have to be an inevitability."

Further Information

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Notes to editor

RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.