Nearly 80 per cent of Scots trust their GP most to meet their healthcare needs

Written by Jenni Davidson on 13 October 2017 in News

A poll for the Royal College of General Practitioners has found that patients strongly value their GPs

Doctor - Image credit: PA

Nearly 80 per cent of Scots trust their GP the most to help meet their healthcare needs, according to a recent YouGov poll for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in Scotland.

The study asked respondents a range of questions centred around their opinion of general practice and their views on the current state of the service in Scotland.

The poll has found that patients overwhelmingly value their GP and the nature of the care GPs offer.

While other professionals are valued, 63 per cent of patients said they wanted to see a GP first when making an appointment, rather than being asked to see other members of the primary care team, and 79 per cent believed their GP would be the most help in meeting their needs.

In addition, 69 per cent of Scottish patients agreeing that their GP is the best person to guide their way through the healthcare system and 85 per cent agreed on the importance of their GP being able to help look after them as a whole person, not just treating a condition.

Continuity of care was another area the public rated highly, with 64 per cent putting importance on seeing the same GP each time if possible and 84 per cent thinking that knowledge of a patient’s medical history was helpful too, giving strength to recent calls for more sharing of information with, for example, out of hours clinicians.   

The report’s publication comes in the wake of GP shortages and a number of GP practices handing back their contracts to health boards.

The YouGov survey found that 88 per cent of Scots support the RCGP’s campaign for more funding for the GPs.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Dr Miles Mack, Chair of RCGP Scotland, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see the high value that patients place on the expert, generalist care that they receive from their GPs.

“These findings reinforce our long-standing belief that patients see the positive impact having their GP at the centre of their healthcare has on their health and on their experience of the healthcare system.  

 “GPs are uniquely placed to deliver care others cannot offer, and their rigorous training in delivering this effectively means that they are best placed within the healthcare system as the first port of call for their patients’ needs.  

“GPs hugely value the work of our multi-disciplinary team members, but no other professional within our teams can or should be used as a replacement for general practitioners.

“This survey sends a clear message that patients want their GP to remain central to their care as the NHS develops.”

The RCGP Scotland has called for spending on general practice to be increased to 11 per cent of the NHS Scotland budget.

Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said: “Our GPs do fantastic work day in, day out and it is no surprise to see that patients across Scotland overwhelmingly value their work.

“It is a credit to our GPs that they continue to do such vital work despite having their budget persistently raided by SNP ministers.

“The SNP has consistently failed to properly workforce plan and our GPs have been left over-worked, under-resourced and under-valued by this SNP government.

“Scottish Labour has launched a workforce commission to tackle the SNP’s staffing crisis in our NHS – and we would use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to ensure our GPs are properly resourced so they can continue their fantastic work.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: 

"Scotland's GPs do amazing work often under difficult circumstances and this poll shows how highly their work is valued by patients

“Sadly this SNP government has overseen a serious shortage of GPs causing more and more practices to close or restrict access.

"It is time to end the GP crisis and avert further problems by delivering the required funding, immediately guaranteeing the rights of EU staff working in our NHS and introducing a new mental health practitioner in every surgery, relieving the pressure on other parts of the service.”

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