Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.
Daily Record

Humza Yousaf insists 800 more GPs will be hired in Scotland as public satisfaction dips

Humza Yousaf has insisted he is "very confident" a key Government target to increase the number of GPs in Scotland by 800 will be met.

The health secretary said the number of family doctors has so far only risen by 275 - but claimed that much of the increase will come in the later years of the target.

The SNP announced in 2017 it would dramatically increase the number of doctors by 2027.

Yousaf insisted: "I think we are on track to meet that target."

His comments came in the wake of a damning report which found public satisfaction in the health service plummeted during the pandemic - with a rising number of patients unable to see their GP in person.

The Health and Care Experience Survey saw 67 per cent of respondents give a positive rating when asked about their overall experience - a drop of 12 per cent from the previous survey, and 23 per cent lower than when the first survey was carried out in 2009-10.

It comes after GP services were disrupted last year because of the ongoing Covid pandemic which meant many patients had to rely on virtual consultations.

Less than two-fifths (37%) of patients saw their GP face-to-face last year - a fall of 49 per cent.

Yousaf told BBC Radio Scotland today that face-to face appointments were "understandably" restricted because of the pandemic.

He added that ministers, along with GP representatives, are “committed” to increasing the number of patients seen in person, but he also stressed this will “be part of a hybrid model”.

He said: "For those who want to see their GP face-to-face, and it is clinically appropriate for them to see their GP face-to-face, they should be seen face-to-face.

“We will see numbers of people making face-to-face appointments increase, I am certain of that, because we have de-escalated some of the infection prevention control measures around health care as we move from pandemic into an endemic phase of this virus.”

On the GP recruitment target, Yousaf said: “We are putting relentless effort, relentless focus, into making sure that general practice is an attractive proposition for medical graduates to go into.”

There has been an increase in GP numbers of 275 since 2017, he added, although he stressed it “would be wrong to think of this as a year-on-year target”.

The Health Secretary added: “There will be various phases of this, and much of the increase will come in these latter years.

“We are very confident we will meet that 800 target by 2027.

“Scotland is starting from a very high base, we have more GPs per head in Scotland than any other part of the UK – and not by a small margin, by quite a distance.

“We’re going to increase the number of GPs, increase the number of other professionals within the GP practice, and I hope all of that will help us meet the demand placed on GP practices at the moment.”

To sign up to the Daily Record Politics newsletter, click here.