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Scottish GP surgeries reach ‘crisis point’ as government spending falls

New NHS data shows a 0.4% fall in spending on family health services in 2017-18

SPENDING on GPs and prescriptions in Scotland fell last year, despite SNP claims that the health service is not facing cuts.

New NHS data showed that £2.6 billion was spent on family health services in 2017-18 — a real terms fall of 0.4 per cent on the previous year. The sector includes GP services, prescription drugs and dental and ophthalmic services.

There was a 1.5 per cent real terms increase in overall NHS operating costs over the same period.

The Scottish government has pledged funding for primary care will increase to 11 per cent of the frontline NHS budget by 2021-22.

But opposition MSPs say GP surgeries have reached "crisis point," with the share of NHS spending devoted to family doctors falling from 7.3 per cent in 2013-14 to 6.8 per cent this year.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh’s Royal College of Physicians warned: “For the NHS to survive financially, a proper funding plan must be in place.”

Scottish Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said SNP "mismanagement has brought GP surgeries to crisis point."

He added: "I have uncovered posts that have been vacant for two years and doctors have warned they are under pressure like never before.”

However, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the figures actually showed "good progress to our twin track approach of record investment coupled with reform in health and social care services."

She said: "Importantly, we are continuing to see an increase in the balance of expenditure in primary care and community services from our acute sector.

"By the end of this parliament we will have invested an additional £500 million per year in primary care, £250m of which will directly support general practice.”


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