Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands MSP
The new general practice contract agreed by the SNP Government and the British Medical Association (BMA) will see funding slashed for all GP practices across the Western Isles, warns Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron – with Barra’s GP practice set to lose more than half of its present funding.
“The fact that one practice on the islands is set to lose more than half of its funding should send shockwaves to SNP politicians,” said the Tory MSP.
The new contract is the first Scotland-only contract and was accepted by the BMA Scottish GPs committee following majority backing from a members poll in which only four out of ten GP’s took part in.
Concerns have been raised however by rural GP’s, who claim that the new agreement will see funding cut for rural practices while Central Belt practices will see a funding boost.
According to the Rural GP Association of Scotland, every practice across the Western Isles will see a reduction in funding, with the sole practice on the Isle of Barra to be worst hit with a cut of 60.2% of its income allocation.
The figures show that practices in Stornoway will be the least affected, however both surgeries are set to see a cut of 28.9% and 20.7% respectively.
Mr Cameron said: “The new GP contract is yet another example of why this SNP Government is so out of touch with rural Scotland.
“The fact that one practice on the islands is set to lose more than half of its funding should send shockwaves to SNP politicians.
“This will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on patient care across the islands, and it will not help the current struggle facing the SNP-run NHS to fill vacancies and reduce waiting times.”
He added: “We all want to support our GP’s wherever they may be, but the new contract must not pit urban and rural GP’s against each other, because at the end of it all, it is the patient that suffers.”
The new general practice contract comes as the First Minister said in First Minister’s Questions at the end of January that “no GP will lose funding as a result of the new contract.”
The Scottish Conservatives Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Miles Briggs MSP, has written to the First Minister to clarify this position in light of the concerns raised by the Rural GP Association of Scotland.