Health minister: We will recruit 800 new GPs in ten years

Shona Robison's announcement is the latest attempt to fix the problem in Scotland.

Health: More than a third of practising GPs are aged over 50.

The Scottish Government will recruit an additional 800 GPs over the next ten years, the health secretary has announced.

Shona Robison launched the proposals at a special British Medical Association (BMA) conference in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on Friday.

The latest workforce survey of GPs shows the number of full-time equivalent doctors declined by 2% between 2013 to 2015, with one in five practices having a vacancy for a GP.

Concerns have been raised that staffing levels will get worse in the years to come with more than a third of GPs working in Scotland are aged over 50.

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Robison's announcement is the latest attempt by the devolved administration to fix the problem, with a multi-million pound drive launched two years ago only netting 18 new recruits.

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The minister told conference delegates: "We want to go further. As multi-disciplinary teams are developed further within GP practices, our ambition is to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over ten years to ensure a sustainable service for the future.

"GP recruitment concerns are not unique to Scotland, however, our commitment to invest £7.5m, including expanding the remote and rural incentive scheme and relocation funds, should have a real impact going forward.

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"Ultimately, this will ensure people across Scotland continue to receive a high standard of care whether they're in Newtonmore or Newton Mearns, and that those who need to see GPs are given the time they need."

Dr Alan McDevitt, chairman of BMA Scotland's GP committee, said: "Working towards delivering 800 additional GPs for Scotland is a sensible and realistic target for the years ahead, and I look forward to the coming primary care workforce plan that will show how this is to be achieved.

"Together with the wider measures in the proposed contract to make general practice a more attractive career, I believe that this can have a significant impact on improving GP recruitment and retention."

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