Medical association survey “extremely concerning”

More than a 25 per cent of GP practices have at least one vacancy.
More than a 25 per cent of GP practices have at least one vacancy.

More than a quarter of GP surgeries in Scotland have at least one GP vacancy, according to a new survey published by the British Medical Association (BMA).

The results have highlighted what the association says is the deepening scale of the recruitment problem facing general practice in Scotland.

The survey of all Scottish practices received over 500 responses and found that as of June 1 this year 28.5 per cent had at least one GP vacancy, compared to figures published in March this year which revealed that 26 per cent reported having at least one vacancy.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chairman of the BMA Scottish GP committee, said the results of the snapshot survey are “extremely concerning”.

He continued: “It shows that the recruitment and retention problems in general practice that we have been warning of are continuing to get worse.

“The Scottish Government can no longer talk about record numbers of GPs in Scotland. The vacancy rate shows that there are simply not enough doctors to meet the demands being put upon general practice.

“Every unfilled vacancy puts more and more strain on remaining GPs who must struggle to cover the gaps in their practice while also coping with increasing demands on GP services.

“The Scottish Government urgently needs to commit to improving recruitment and retention, as well as to increased funding to general practice.

“We are currently working with the Scottish Government on a new contract to make general practice a more attractive career choice, but it will take time to deliver more GPs. The Scottish Government must take immediate and effective action to support GPs who are facing significant challenges in maintaining quality services for patients under increasingly difficult circumstances.”