General Practitioners

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 21st June 2007.

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Photo of Mary Mulligan Mary Mulligan Labour 11:40 am, 21st June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive how it plans to increase the number of people becoming GPs. (S3O-336)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

NHS Scotland announced in its "National Workforce Plan 2006" that the number of GP training posts would increase by 50 from August 2007, which means that 890 training places will be available from that date. The number of training places that NHS Scotland requires is determined by local and national workforce planning.

Photo of Mary Mulligan Mary Mulligan Labour

We see a changing picture of those who are becoming GPs. For example, more women are becoming GPs and male and female GPs are sharing caring responsibilities. Will the Scottish Government encourage more GPs to become salaried rather than small businesspeople? What resources are available to support that?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

We encourage GPs into the salaried service and will continue to do so. We acknowledge the changing face of GPs and that many now come from different backgrounds, which is to be welcomed. We must ensure that the system supports that flexibility and we intend to make progress on that.

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

On the other side of the equation, what support will the Government give to encourage people to become partners in practices, with all the responsibility that that entails? What support can the Government supply to practices that get into financial difficulties—it will be aware of examples of that?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

We are aware of such examples. Substantial assistance is available to GPs, particularly those who are located in more rural and remote areas, of which the member will be aware. The golden hello scheme pays out to GPs who establish new practices; additional payments are also available to those in rural and remote areas. Other assistance can be given to GPs who find themselves in difficulties. If the member wants to write to me specifically about his concerns, I am more than prepared to give him more details.