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by Staff reporter
23 February 2023
NHS Scotland plan to recruit 800 GPs by 2027 likely to fail, Audit Scotland warns

NHS Scotland plan to recruit 800 GPs by 2027 likely to fail, Audit Scotland warns

The Scottish Government must be clearer on how long it will take the NHS to recover from the Covid pandemic, a watchdog has said.

Audit Scotland also said that key recruitment targets are unlikely to be met, with the NHS recovery plan lacking detailed actions to allow progress to be “accurately measured”.

The plan lacks "robust modelling" to understand demand and capacity, the independent body claims, and the patient backlog has continued to increase in the 18 months since it was published.

In a report published today, Audit Scotland says workforce capacity is the biggest risk to NHS recovery, with health boards struggling to hire the medics needed to make sure services are "sustainable in the long-term". Plans to recruit 800 GPs by 2027 are likely to fail, Audit Scotland has found, along with other key recruitment targets, and the current workforce remains under "severe pressure".

While the Scottish Government is enacting reforms, Audit Scotland found it is too early to gauge the impact this will have and every board is now facing "significant" financial challenges which may limit potential investment in recovery. These include the need to fund the proposed National Care Service.

Information on patient waits for treatment must be made "clear and meaningful" by the Scottish Government, Audit Scotland said.

Auditor General Stephen Boyle said: "NHS staff remain under severe pressure and the Scottish Government is facing tough choices.  

"Money is tight but investment is needed in recovery. That means ministers have to prioritise which NHS aims can realistically be delivered. And they need to be more transparent about the progress they're making. 

"The Scottish Government has set out the big challenges facing the NHS. But it also needs to clearly explain to the public what those challenges mean for the level of service they can expect, including waiting times."

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