Here’s the up-to-date evidence:
Access to a GP
Based on a Scottish survey published in July 2019, we can see that while overall levels of satisfaction with the quality of the service offered by GPs did not differ significantly, it is in the ease of access that the Scottish system seems to be performing much better:
According to BBC Scotland News in June 2019:
‘Patients should get appointments with GPs lasting at least 15 minutes rather than 10, according to the Royal College of GPs. In a report, it warns nearly 40% of GPs in Scotland feel overwhelmed by their workload at least once a week.’
Neither the report by the Royal College of General Practitioners. Fit for the future: a vision for general practice. May 2019. nor its compendium of evidence contain any such phrase. The word ‘overwhelmed’ does not appear at all and the word ‘workload’ is never associated with ‘Scotland’ or indeed with any figure but, in the BBC report (only), we see this:
‘RCGP Scotland chairwoman Dr Carey Lunan said: “Nearly 40% of GPs report that they feel so overwhelmed by their daily tasks that they feel they cannot cope at least once per week.’
The claim seems to be based entirely on an interview with Dr Lunan. We do not know whether she refers to the whole sample or to some Scottish sub-set available to her. Neither the report nor the compendium of evidence provides any raw data broken down into a Scottish sub-set. There is, of course, no methodology offered.
Perhaps there is another report, unspecified by the BBC or by Dr Lunan. I’d be happy to see and consider it, especially its methodology, but the RCGP only seem to have this one.
Scotland is mentioned in the report but only in positive sense. See these:
Page 8: In Scotland, 83% of people rate the overall care provided by their GP practice positively.
There are no negative comments regarding GPs and their workloads anywhere in the 60 pages of the Compendium of Evidence.
McArdle’s previous big fibs:
- GP contractors
In the desperate struggle for readers and clicks, the Herald tries to make something negative out of nothing at all:
‘The latest workforce statistics show that more GPs than ever before are being paid a salary instead of earning their income as an independent contractor, in a sign of the strain facing the profession.’
From my lefty perspective on the NHs and other things, that looks like good news. We don’t want any more ‘independent contractors’ motivated by profit, do we?
2. Unsafe staffing pressures
On the 28th November, she told us that there were ‘unsafe’ staffing pressures on nurses, based only on a dodgy trade union survey, and despite Scotland having 50% more nurses than the UK figure:
3. Older GPs quitting
In October she claimed that ‘half of older doctors were planning to quit’ yet only 167 out of 8 000 did in 2017-2018 and that was down from 185 the previous year:
And McCardle seems to have missed this:
Scottish GP headcount climbs for 3rd quarter in a row, is younger and more numerous than in England