Alison Johnstone MSP, health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today welcomed comments from the First Minister on the recruitment of GPs.

Since 2009 the whole time equivalent number of GPs in Scotland has remained flat at around 3,700.

Today the First Minister announced the extension of a scheme to attract former GPs back to work, and an increase in training places which should mean from 2019 onwards an additional 100 trained GPs available each year.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:

"This focus on recruitment is welcome, if overdue, as we have seen no real increase in capacity at our GP surgeries. GPs tell us that their funding share from the Scottish Government has fallen for the tenth year in a row, while the number of consultations has risen by eleven per cent in the same period.

"Encouraging those who have recently left the profession to return is a sensible step, and ministers must ensure that new training places come with the right incentives and support so that as many of those places are filled. GPs are under enormous pressure and patients are struggling to get appointments, so the need for effective action is clear."