Concerns around GP shortages must be addressed and MSPs on the Health and Sport Committee have today written to the Health Secretary Shona Robison MSP to highlight what they think can make a positive difference to the profession.
In a wide ranging letter on primary care reform the Committee noted that general practice was now considered to be an unattractive option to medical students due to its negative portrayal.
The Committee also expressed its support for initiatives such as “golden handcuffs” to address the issue of retaining medical students who study in Scotland. They would also like to see some support being given to those who indicate on their application to medical school a desire to practice locally.
MSPs also believe that the current academic based approach to medical school admissions could be automatically reducing the pool of those desiring a career in medicine.
Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Neil Findlay MSP said:
“Concerns around GP recruitment, vacancy rates and the profession have been well rehearsed. This is why we wanted to take specific evidence on this issue to determine what else the Scottish Government needs to do to tackle this problem.
“What was clear was that within the medical profession general practitioners were viewed as second class medics. This Committee considers this issue so fundamental that unless it is addressed we don’t see how any attempts to boost recruitment can work.
“We also heard of real issues around retaining medical students who train in Scotland. More needs to be done to come up with ways to encourage students who study here to stay here and practice.”
The Committee also wants more detail from the Scottish Government on what it is doing to ensure GPs are co-operating in the development and delivery of a multi-disciplinary team. This was following concerns raised that 25-30 per cent of current GP workload could be undertaken by somebody else. Consideration must also been given to educating the user that the most relevant medical professional for them to see might not always be the GP.
The Committee was also concerned about the lack of involvement of the patient more generally and would welcome detail from the Scottish Government on how local communities are being incorporated into the development of primary care services.
A copy of the letter can be found here.