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Fears over Scottish GP shortage

This news post is almost 6 years old

Age Scotland and Breast Cancer Now have said that a shortage of doctors could have knock-on effects

A charity for older people has expressed fears over the Scottish doctor shortage.

A quarter of health centres across the country are operating with a shortage of GPs, and Age Scotland has said the crisis could have a serious impact on the wellbeing of the elderly.

The Primary Care Workforce Survey has shown that 24% of surgeries are advertising at least one vacancy, and two thirds of family doctors are now working part-time.

"The shortage of GPs is very concerning and could have a serious impact on older patients,” said Age Scotland chief executive Brian Sloan. “We often hear from older people who have difficulty making appointments with their GP when they need them.

“This is having a knock-on effect on other parts of the NHS, increasing the chance of poor health outcomes and putting additional strain on our hospitals. Primary care physicians play a vital role in building relationships with their patients and identifying problems at an early stage, from symptoms of dementia to social isolation.”

Breast Cancer Now has also spoken out about the figures, raising fears about women being put at risk by the shortages.

“If not addressed, these shortages could begin to have an impact on screening, early diagnosis and ultimately, patient outcomes,” said the charity’s Scotland manager Lawrence Cowan.

The Scottish Government said that the amount of people employed by the NHS was at a record high.

Health secretary Shona Robison said: “With demand on our NHS rising we’re committed to both record investment in our health service and ensuring that new safe staffing legislation is introduced to help deliver the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place long into the future.”