GPs warn access to services is declining

Doctors are warning that increasing list sizes are affecting patients’ ability to access local GP services.

British Medical Council representatives claim population rises, along with increasing stocks of new housing being developed in communities across the country, are creating pressure on existing general practices, where list sizes continue to grow.

The Registrar General has today published his annual report which states that Scotland’s population has risen to its highest ever level.

In response to this, GPs are calling on the Scottish Government to put in place measures to ensure that town planners have a duty to consider the impact of new housing developments on local health services.

They say measures should be put in place to provide support for the creation of new practices where there is significant population growth.

They claim at present, small, but growing practices do not receive sufficient funding to make them financially viable.

Dr Andrew Buist, Deputy Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “General practice is very much at the heart of local communities and the care we provide is valued by our patients.

“Everyone needs to have access to their GP at some point in their life, from immunisation of babies to care for the elderly. If we are to improve access and provide the range of services that patients need, then we have to make sure we have the capacity to deliver.

“At present there is no requirement for planning departments to consider the impact of population growth on local health services, we believe that it would make sense to include this as part of the planning process.