The MSP for Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh, Jackie Baillie, has backed calls for more GPs and more resources for general practice following the launch of the Royal College of General Practice’s report “From the Frontline: The Changing Landscape of Scottish General Practice”.
The report found that over a third of GPs report that their workload is overwhelming and that a quarter of GPs believe they are unlikely to be working in general practice in five years’ time. In addition, one in three GPs don’t get a break of 10 minutes of more most days and that almost 40% of GPs say it is financially unsustainable to run a practice.
The report also found that patients living in areas of inequality develop chronic diseases earlier in life, live with ill health for longer, and die younger than those living in the most affluent areas. West Dunbartonshire has 48 data zones and Argyll and Bute has 11 data zones within the 20% most deprived in Scotland meaning the health of patients in these areas is likely to be adversely affected by their circumstances.
Two of the report’s main recommendations highlight the need for a move to patient appointments of 15 minutes instead of the current 10 minutes, and for more funding to reduce health inequalities.
“GPs are at the frontline of our health service, treating patients with a whole host of health problems on a daily basis. It is clear that if we do not properly support General Practice then the rest of our health service suffers.
“The report has highlighted that patients living in areas of inequality are more likely to suffer problems with their health. These patients are often the least likely to seek help especially if they struggle to see their GP, so at a very basic level it is important that GPs are supported to continue providing this frontline service.
“Scotland is facing a shortage of more than 850 GPs by 2021 and GPs are telling us that they don’t envisage being in the profession in five years’ time. This is a crisis.
“It is clear that more funding and support for General Practice is desperately needed to plug this gap in a vital health service.”