Grim fairy tale from trade union leader on GP staffing

In the Herald today:

THE NHS “is crumbling and patients are being failed”, according to the new leader of the BMA in Scotland. Dr Iain Kennedy, a GP based in Inverness who took over as chair of the trade union earlier this month, said doctors are more worried now than they have ever been about a looming winter crisis.

GP practices collapsing?

The headcount of GPs in Scotland is 5,195. This is a rise of 74 GPs compared to last year. Prior to 2018, the headcount of GPs had remained fairly constant at around 4,900 since 2011. After 2018, the number of male GPs levelled out while the number of female GPs increased. This resulted in an increase of 209 GPs from 2018 to 2021.

They are in England:

Nearly 1.5 million patients have lost their GP in the last eight years after the closure of almost 500 practices, research has suggested.

When I searched for ‘Scotland GP practices closing‘, the above was the second hit after reports of closing for the Queen’s funeral. There’s nothing on Scottish GP practices closing to the above effect though there are now fewer but larger ones, typically.

Junior medics quitting for jobs in finance?

The FT has the story of one US ‘doctor’s assistant‘ quitting for something unspecified. In Scotland, the Record has Dr Michael Moronski going to Australia from Glasgow and BBC NE has Clinical Quality Advisor Dr Roelf Dijkuizen leaving NHS Orkney for….who knows…Glasgow?

Two out of more than 5 000 leave?

NHS Crumbling?

NHS Scotland’s workforce has reached a record high of more than 155,000 whole time equivalent (WTE) staff.

The number of doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, and support staff working across Scotland’s hospitals and in communities increased by over 7,000 in the past year alone.

Staffing  levels have now increased for ten consecutive years in NHS Scotland and have grown by over 28,500 (WTE) since 2006, meaning an extra 22.6% staff working in the health service

Overall? Mince.

5 thoughts on “Grim fairy tale from trade union leader on GP staffing

  1. Just a brief comment on GP surgeries closing on the 19th Sept. The medical practice I go to said they would be closed that day BUT they would honour any appointments that had already been made for that day.

    Also worth pointing out GPs in Scotland have a different contract to GPs in England. One of the main differences is that GPs in Scotland are no longer responsible for organising and carrying out immunisations apart from rural practices or doing housebound patients in their practices. Quite important lightening of their workload in a pandemic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The shift, in Glasgow at least of a number of services from GP practices to local health centres for things like vaccinations, giving blood samples, etc. has certainly eased things at Gp surgeries. My wife and I, both in our 70s, have had no problems access in GP services within a reasonable time.

      Using the local pharmacy for small ailments also helps ease pressures.

      PS I am glad that Mr Iain Kennedy is not my GP. I want someone who talks in a meaningful way not someone who is prone to ridiculous hyperbole. Why do the various health service and teacher unions appoint people who use such ridiculous alarmist language. Part of the ‘professionalism’ which such people claim requires people to use language which is accurate and proportionate in tone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An interesting article as much for the framing by Helen McArdle, but I’d question whether his “THE NHS is crumbling and patients are being failed” and “We’ve just come out of summer and our hospitals are full. Our A&Es have huge waiting times; the waiting times in outpatients are massive across just about every speciality” was specifically referring to Scotland as opposed to the UK –

    For sure “some” junior Doctors are underpaid for the work many of them do, but key is what he admits is an “ever-dwindling pool of doctors”.
    There are three elements of this bound to the policies of successive governments, all of which revolve around knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
    – Defunding and tinkering with the NHS in England has had massive consequences, and it’s pretty certain following Kamikwasi’s recent stunt they are set on squeezing it further toward enlarging privatisation.
    – The obscenity of student loans – Who the hell would pay it back if they could escape the country and earn fatter salaries where there is demand ?
    – The Brexit debacle “closed the doors” in both directions causing an even greater problem for available personnel with the pool of europe reduced to a British puddle with a giant FOR SALE sign staked next to it.

    Iain Kennedy may have a job to as chair of the trade union, but I’m hopeful a fresh head can find a way to convey the realities in Scotland beyond the hyperbole of “crumbling” and “failed”, that’s Tsunami Baillie and “Disaster” Gulhane’s schtick…
    Preferably absent Helen McArdle own schtick…


    1. I have also heard it mentioned several times recently about the UK Gov cutting the number of training places for doctors by 3000. A couple of years ago the Scot Gov increased the number of places available in Medical Faculties in Scottish Universities. Some Medical schools did the same in response to what everyone could see as a growing shortage. However, those efforts may be set at nought if the UK Gov, which controls the number of training places across the UK, does not increase the number of training places in Hospital. Once graduated if young doctors cannot get registered training places in hospitals then they cannot get full registration with the GMC and so ends their medical career in the UK at least. Not sure about the situation if they go abroad.

      A factor in Scotland’s favour as far as attracting and keeping junior doctors is that a few years ago the Scot Gov did not force the new contract on junior doctors in Scotland the way the UK Gov did in England. Remember the junior doctors in England went on strike over the issue.

      And of course there are all the new hospitals – community, general and specialist – that have been built in Scotland over the last 15 years which provide better working conditions for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Opinion ( of people with an axe to grind ) versus Facts !
    Opinion of politicians ( with an ulterior motive ) versus Counting !
    No contest !


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