I will be raising the GP crisis in Fife with the Health Secretary as I ask what support the Scottish Government is offering to struggling practices in the Kingdom.
The question follows a series of stories regarding the crisis facing GPs and patients in the region. This included the closure of a practice at Kirkcaldy Medical Centre despite NHS Fife trying to run the service with locum GPs.
Following numerous failed attempts to hire a replacement full time GP, Fife Health and Social Care took the decision to close the practice. As a result over 1,600 patients were dispersed to new practices.
Nationally over 52 practices have been transferred to local health services. As a result more than 160,000 patients are now served by an NHS run practice. According to the Royal College General Practitioners there is estimated to be a shortfall of 856 GPs by 2021.
Fife has been facing a growing GP crisis for some time and as RCGP highlighted it is expected to get worse not better in the years ahead. Patients deserve to been seen quick, by their regular GP and without being ferried from practice to practice.
Whilst NHS Fife do a good job filing holes and nobody is doubting the care of locum GP’s, this is no substitute for a stable GP practice. That is why we need to see a genuine guarantee from the Scottish Government to support struggling GP services throughout Fife.
I’ll be raising this issue directly with the Health Secretary. We need to see a commitment from the Government to ensure GPs get the support that they deserve. As we face an ageing population, primary care will only become more and more important. It is important that the Scottish Government taking this opportunity to make a commitment to patients in the Kingdom.