Yes, there really is a Stoneyburn. You’re thinking of TV’s Stoneybridge where they didn’t just have no GP, they had SFA!
It’s all over BBC 1 News, headlining BBC Scotland broadcasts and online. They open with:
- Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head of population in the UK, research commissioned by the BBC has revealed.
- Analysis by the Nuffield Trust think tank shows there are 76 GPs per 100,000 people, compared to a national UK average of 60.
- BUT (BUT, BUT…) Scotland’s doctors have warned major challenges still exist with recruitment and retention.
They’ve had to scramble to get their buts in gear to counter this disastrous news, but they managed to insert one in the third sentence. From then on, we hear from GPs that we shouldn’t get carried away because its no that great up here with unfilled vacancies and more patients to be dealt with. Wait a minute Doc, aren’t these ratios taking into account that there are more patients? So, you’ve got more patients, BUT you’ve got more GPs too? It seems to be working as well. See this from 2018:
‘More encouragingly, it also found 87 per cent of people found it easy to contact their GP practice, while more than nine out ten (93 per cent) were able to get an appointment within two days.’
As for vacancies, they’re running nearly three times higher in England and the rate here is not extreme:
‘GP vacancies (in England) rise to record levels despite recruitment pledge, survey suggests. Long patient waits and unsafe, rushed appointments are unlikely to end any time soon as vacancies have risen from 9.1 per cent to 15.3 per cent since the (UK) government pledged 5 000 more doctors.’
In sharp contrast, the GP vacancy rate in Scotland was only 5.6% at the end of 2017.
The TV report this morning didn’t show this lovely graph. Will they do so in the later editions? They usually love their graphics.
It’s a stunning clear victory. Who can be responsible? Surely not those Nats? Well yes it looks that way. See these recent indicators that things are being run much better here:
When the Scottish contract was first introduced in January, the BMA contrasted it very favourably with that on offer in England and Wales. The BMA told the GP’s newsletter, Pulse (‘At the heart of general practice since 1960’), that the new Scottish contract is an ‘ambitious departure’ from the rest of the UK and that it will make the profession attractive again.
Scotland has a unique system of improving the quality of health care. It focuses on engaging the altruistic professional motivations of frontline staff to do better and building their skills to improve. Success is defined based on specific measurements of safety and effectiveness that make sense to clinicians.
And thanks to the GPs BUT also making things better FOR the GPs:
LATEST: Hold the cameras! We’ve found an old woman in Stoneybridge (?) where they’ve closed the practice. I don’t know where that is! The camera crew have a satnav don’t they? Get them out there pronto! We can make her the real story. Those statistics mean nothing really. How did we find her so quickly? She’s the mother of one of our cleaners? Investigative journalism at its best!