Rural general practice is approaching a crisis: urgent action is needed to ensure that people
living in remote and rural Scotland will continue to have access to medical care. The rural
population rarely has a choice of practice or access to hospital emergency departments, so
the survival of rural general practice is essential.
There has been a steady decline in the rural medical workforce over the past 10 years and
many rural GPs are approaching retirement, so inaction will quickly lead to crisis. Several
(sometimes well-intentioned) policy initiatives have stoked this fire, particularly the 2018 GP
contract which poured new resources into urban practices but virtually nothing into rural
areas. This has led to a huge loss of morale among rural GPs. Many previously thriving
practices have now been handed back to Health Board control, often leading to replacement
of established GPs by expensive temporary locum doctors. Patient satisfaction with rural
general practice has plunged.
RGPAS is asking for an opportunity to talk. To reverse this direction of travel.