Fri 6 Jan, 2017

GPs in the most deprived areas of Scotland are not adequately resourced and we need the government to do more to help improve access to general practice in those areas. Alison Johnstone MSP

A Green MSP has written to the health secretary urging the government to better target GP practice spending in the most deprived areas and for a robust approach to tackling health inequalities.

Alison Johnstone’s letter to Shona Robison outlines how GP practices in the most deprived areas receive only £3.79 more per patient than those in the least deprived and that a fairer funding model would allow GPs to “have longer consultation with their patients”.

Lothian MSP and Scottish Greens’ health spokesperson, Alison Johnstone said:

“GPs in the most deprived areas of Scotland are not adequately resourced and we need the government to do more to help improve access to general practice in those areas, where GPs have longer lists, patients have more complex health needs and a lower ‘healthy life expectancy’ compared to patients in less deprived areas.

“I am very concerned about recent figures showing that GP practices in the most deprived ten percent of postcodes receive just £3.79 more per patient than those in the least deprived.  This cannot adequately allow GPs to address unmet need and respond to complex health problems.  What is even more concerning is that practices in the most deprived twenty percent of postcodes actually receive £1.34 less per patient than those in the least deprived twenty percent.

“Greens believe the way that funding is distributed directly to GPs should change so that GPs in more deprived areas receive a greater share of funding.  I am also conscious that many practices, particularly those in remote and rural areas, which are not in areas of high deprivation are also struggling.

“I know that the Scottish Government is committed to a review of the Scottish Allocation Formula and we would wish that review to lead to a revised formula which results in increased allocations to practices in deprived areas.  Fairer funding for these patients would help GPs to have longer consultation with their patients, as the results of a recent BMA survey calls for.”

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