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28 April 2016, 07:55
Almost nine in ten GPs worry that patient care is being put at risk by a lack of resources, according to a poll.
The ComRes survey of 150 Scottish GPs for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland found the concern was shared by 89% of respondents.
More than half (58%) said they plan to leave or reduce their hours in the next five years, with 9% planning to leave within the next year.
A total of 77% worry about missing something serious with a patient because of their workload while 93% say morale has decreased over the last five years.
The poll also found 93% believe appointment waiting times will increase without more resources and more than three-quarters (79%) worry that general practice will be unrecognisable by 2021.
Opposition parties seized on the findings to criticise the Scottish Government's record on the NHS while the SNP said it had presided over record investment and staff numbers.
Dr Miles Mack, chair of RCGP Scotland, urged all parties to make commitments to ``guarantee the future of the GP service and increase funding to a sustainable level''.
He said: "GPs are already deeply concerned about the welfare of their patients as a result of a decade of cuts to the percentage share of funding the service receives, from 9.8% in 2005/06 to 7.4% in 2014/15, despite an 11% increase in the number of consultations over ten years.
"A wholesale departure of GPs now looks likely given the current conditions the profession faces. In that instance, patient safety clearly will suffer further.''
The organisation wants an extra 740 GPs recruited for Scotland by 2020 and for an 11% share of NHS spend to "adequately resource'' general practice.
Scottish Labour's public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie accused the SNP of creating "the biggest crisis in family doctors in a generation'' with more than #1 billion of funding cut and one in four surgeries unable to fill vacancies.
She said: "Labour will invest more in primary care to take pressure off of our hospitals with more funding, extending the minor ailment service and increasing numbers of advanced practice nurses in surgeries. Because of that, we will guarantee an appointment at a GP surgery within 48 hours.''
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume said: "Nine years of SNP government has left GP services in need of intensive care.
"Liberal Democrats have a clear and costed prescription for GPs that would increase funding for primary care and put new staff into surgeries to help manage the increased workload they are facing.''
An SNP spokesman said: "Under the SNP, Scotland's NHS has record investment and has record staff numbers - and we're committed to increasing the NHS revenue budget by #500 million over inflation by the end of the next parliament.
"We're also committed to increasing the proportion of the NHS budget being spent on primary care each year and to increasing GPs numbers. To support this, we're increasing GP training places from 300 to 400 per year.''