GP services in Scotland

I share your concerns that access to face-to-face appointments at GP surgeries remains limited for some people in Scotland. While general practice is keen to open itself up for more face-to-face appointments, and GPs have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, the SNP Government’s poor workforce planning means that GPs remain under huge pressure. With that said, I am clear that patient preference needs to be met through a balance of appointment types. People deserve to be able to see their GP in person if they feel that they require it and the SNP Government must do more to help facilitate this.
Sadly, the SNP Government have been neglecting the GP workforce for far too long. The workforce shrunk in real terms in the six years leading up to the pandemic, while the SNP’s plan to increase the GP workforce by 800 by 2027 is on course to be all but wiped out by the number of doctors expected to retire or change their
workforce patterns by that time.
That is why the Scottish Conservatives would invest at least 11% of the overall NHS budget in general practice, increase training places and ensure that all GPs are supported by a multi-disciplinary team. This would enable GPs to offer longer appointments to those who need them.
It is also a fact that under the SNP, local healthcare services are in decline, with many facilities centralised, meaning patients are having to travel further for treatment. That is why we will fight for the retention of local services by supporting a Local Healthcare Guarantee, which will include a presumption against centralisation to protect local services like GPs and community hospitals.
Finally, as we learn to live with Covid-19, and start to deal with the backlog, Scottish Conservatives would like to see a sustained and targeted campaign to encourage people who have been putting off visiting their GP to come forward. We will continue to follow progress very closely in the Scottish Parliament.