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by Tom Freeman
15 February 2019
‘Deep-end’ GPs from across UK in plea for more funding

Dr Carey Lunan - RCGP Scotland

‘Deep-end’ GPs from across UK in plea for more funding

Health inequalities require direct investment in doctors in the UK’s most deprived communities, delegates at a conference in Glasgow will hear today.

GPs from all over the UK will discuss the issues facing them at meeting of ‘deep-end’ practices.

‘Deep-end’ GPs represent the 100 most deprived practices in Scotland and have pioneered work to improve access to healthcare for those communities. Most are based in Glasgow and Dundee.

The project has inspired others around the UK, with doctors from Yorkshire and Humberside, Greater Manchester and the Republic of Ireland attending today’s summit.

Topics of discussion include the ‘inverse care law’, which shows those who require health services the most often find them hardest to access.

The meeting comes shortly after mortality rates revealed growing inequality between the expected lifespan of rich and poor

Scotland’s new GP contract was launched with a promise to tackle health inequalities, and it is explicitly listed in the new contract in England, which is due this year.

Ahead of the conference, Dr Carey Lunan, chair of the Royal College of GPs in Scotland, said: “GP practices in areas of deprivation, wherever they are, require appropriate funding and resource, based on levels of need and not simply demand.

“We have to decide what kind of society we wish to be and act accordingly. As the speakers at this conference show, those actions are in themselves unequal across the UK. To our shame, the inverse care law persists, despite 70 years of a national health service, and it continues to blight the lives of millions across the UK.

"In Scotland, we are approaching a year since a new contract was agreed by GPs. It was launched with the promise that it would ‘address health inequalities’. Unfortunately, many practices in areas of high deprivation did not receive the additional funding that others did, which has meant that they are less able to invest in the services they are able to offer patients and less attractive in terms of recruitment. That discrepancy in additional funding further worsens health inequalities.”

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