Tayside GPs see 11% rise in patients over 10 years

Tayside GPs are concerned over the dramatic rise in patients that the area has seen in the last 10 years

A huge rise in patient numbers in Tayside has led to fears over longer-then-ever wait times.

The Daily Record has reported an 11% rise in patients over the past 10 years. The average number of patients per practice in the area was 6,028 in 2008 – now, it’s 6,707.

During that time, five Tayside surgeries have been lost.

Murdo Fraser, mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, has expressed concern at the figures, stating:

“Scotland is in the midst of a GP crisis and fewer practices combined with larger lists is clearly impacting patient care in the NHS Tayside region.

“An 11% increase in patients at each practice is significant and higher than neighbouring boards in Fife and Forth Valley.

“The lack of GP practices directly affects waiting times and forces people to A&E which is not the most efficient means of treating minor ailments.

“GP surgeries are the first line of defence when it comes to preventing disease and we need ring-fenced funding to protect this service.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) recently warned that Scotland could be short of over 800 family doctors by 2021.

A spokesperson for NHS Tayside added: “NHS Tayside has increased the number of GPs during the last ten years, up from 367 GPs in 2008 to 395 in 2018. Over the years, as a response to demographic and practice changes, some practices in Tayside have chosen to merge, or deliver services from different sites and this has resulted in an overall reduction in the number of practices.

“The health board and local health and social care partnerships continue to work closely with practices and local communities to help manage these changes.

“NHS Tayside continues to take steps to recruit and retain GPs and working with local community teams and GPs around new models of care, recognising the role that the wider healthcare team, including pharmacists and community nurses, can play in supporting people to access primary care services.”

A Scottish government spokesperson commented that it remains committed to increasing the number of GPs in Scotland by at least 800 over the next 10 years.

“By the end of this parliament we will invest an additional £500m per year in primary care – £250m of which will be in direct support of general practice,” they said.

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