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Monday, March 4, 2024

Conservatives to pledge 1000 new GPs and appointment within a week

The plans will be funded by raising the proportion of NHS funding dedicated to GP services to 12%.

Read more: Michael Matheson quits as health secretary

The policy document, called ‘modern, efficient, local: A new contract between Scotland’s NHS and the public’, will outline proposed solutions to a host of problems that have left the health service “in permanent crisis” under the SNP, Mr Ross will claim.

Other key plans in the Conservatives’ strategy include a ban on the closure of any NHS facility, unless it is to be replaced by a new one, the development of an app enabling patients to book appointments, view live waiting times and access their medical records and a ‘patient guarantee’ that would introduce maximum waiting times for different treatments, with sanctions for health boards that exceed them.

The Tories are also proposing a Vaping Restrictions Bill to bring the regulations on vaping in line with those for smoking.

Read more: Anas Sarwar says ‘more than 12,000’ people died waiting for ambulance

In a speech launching the paper, Mr Ross will say: “The most common way that people interact with our health service is through GP appointments, yet the share of the budget allocated to GP services has declined.

“And the result has been that, since 2012, 86 local medical facilities have been shut down in favour of increased centralisation.

“As a bare minimum people expect to be able to see a GP in a manner convenient to them. That is why we would increase the portion of NHS funding given to GP services.

“This would enable us to recruit 1,000 more GPs; introduce a ban on local health closures, while reopening practices to ensure there are no blank spots across the country; make appointments as accessible as possible by offering online booking and consultations; and introduce a new national standard of one week for waits for a GP appointment.

“This would make unacceptable waits just to see your GP a thing of the past.”

Read more: Michael Matheson to get £12k golden goodbye

Mr Ross will point to what he claims is “the cracks in a system that is well past breaking point”.

He will add: “Despite the best efforts of hardworking staff, one in seven Scots – over 800,000 people – are on an NHS waiting list.

“Performance in A&E, cancer, mental health and delayed discharge have all hit record lows in recent years, and more staff are now leaving the service than joining it.

“Our health service is in permanent crisis. Yet the SNP Government offer no vision to turn around the NHS’s fortunes.

“While Humza Yousaf is the architect of a flimsy recovery plan that has seen standards fall across our health service since the Covid pandemic – not get any better.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We remain fully committed to increasing the number of GPs in Scotland and will invest over £1.2 billion in general medical services in 2023-24 to ensure more people get the right care in the right place at the right time.

“Scotland has a higher number of GPs per head than the rest of the UK, and a record 1,200 trainee GPs coming through the training system in Scotland.

“In the face of UK Government austerity, we are providing over £14.2 billion for NHS boards in 2024-25 to support services – a real terms increase of almost 3%.

“Despite this significant investment, NHS Boards, like other public services, are under unprecedented pressure as a result of inflation, Brexit and Covid and we are continuing to work with each Board to recover and reform services and address the financial challenge this year and beyond.”



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