Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has claimed the Scottish Government is failing to reassure rural patients that the GP shortage is being tackled.
Mr Cameron yesterday claimed the issue is being neglected by ministers after challenging Health Secretary Jeane Freeman on the provision of family doctors at Holyrood.
The Tory MSP said Ms Freeman’s response to him in parliament would not reassure the public that the government was sorting out “this massive threat” to the service cause by disquiet over the SNP’s new GP contract.
Mr Cameron quoted a survey which suggested that more than nine in 10 GPs would reject the contract if they had the chance.
He also brought up the recent resignation of Dr David Hogg, vice chairman of the Rural GP Association of Scotland, from a Holyrood working group in protest at the way the issue was being dealt with.
“The SNP repeatedly fail to understand that confidence in the future of our rural and island communities is underpinned by access to healthcare and people living here need to know that they can get to see a GP,” Mr Cameron said.
“Our communities need reassurance that the SNP Government understands the importance of this but, unfortunately, they just don’t seem to get it. My Scottish Conservative colleagues and I will continue to press ministers as we cannot allow this matter to continue to be neglected by the SNP.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The new GP contract, designed and agreed with the British Medical Association (BMA), with 71.5% voting in favour of it, drives collaboration between partners locally to improve general practice and primary care – and to ultimately improving the health of the population. We listened to GPs when negotiating the contract and worked together to shape the future of general practice in Scotland.
“No GP practice in Scotland has lost funding due to the new contract and health board funding will be unaffected. The GP contract package provides specific support to rural GPs including an additional £850,000 this year for relocation and recruitment.”