Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has today revealed that areas across Scotland are losing dozens of GPs every year to early retirement and called for the Scottish Government to encourage experienced professionals to stay on amidst GP shortages across the country.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats to the Scottish Public Pensions Authority revealed that of the 136 GPs who have retired since 2015, just 9 waited until the state pension age to do so.
Dr Andrew Buist, chair of the British Medical Association’s Scottish GP Committee, recently warned:
“GP surgeries are under extreme pressure, with increased demand and at times unmanageable workloads, made worse right now due to high levels of staff absence with Covid.
“We are hearing of more clinicians considering cutting their hours or retiring from the profession completely due to exhaustion and burnout.
“The simple fact is we do not have enough GPs to meet patient demand.
“We face a huge challenge in terms of recruiting and retaining GPs in Scotland, and we need to keep doing all we can to make the job as attractive and competitive as possible – and ensure staff who are currently working long hours to do as much as they can for their patients are taken care of.”
Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for the Far North said:
“When I am out on the doorsteps in the Highlands speaking to local people, one of the top concerns is simply getting a GP appointment.
“This is already a huge issue for our area.
“I believe that everyone should be able to rely on swift and reliable care close to home.
“A shortage of GPs creates stress for local residents in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and increases the workload for those who remain.
“Part of tackling these shortages is recruiting new staff but the Scottish Government should also be doing far more to encourage the experienced and talented GPs in the Far North leaving the profession early each year to stay on.
“Highland Liberal Democrats have extensively campaigned for a wider range of specialists, diagnosis and treatment in our area.
“The Scottish Government need to increase the number of trained GPs in Scotland and embed more nurses, dieticians and physiotherapists with GPs so that local people can get a wider range of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
“That’s one way to reduce the burden on current and encourage experienced professionals to stay.”