FOUR-FIFTHS of Scots believe GPs are the community professionals they trust the most to meet their healthcare needs, according to a poll.
The Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland, which commissioned the YouGov study, said the finding demonstrated overwhelming support for the work of family doctors.
The results were released as the RCPG’s annual conference takes place in Liverpool.
The survey asked respondents a range of questions on their opinion of general practice and their views on the current state of the service in Scotland.
It found 79% of people think it is the GP that can be trusted most, compared to other professionals in the wider general practice team, to help meet their healthcare needs.
In addition, 63% of patients told researchers they want to see a GP first when making an appointment, rather than being asked to see other members of the primary care team.
A similar figure, 64%, of the public placed importance on seeing the same GP each time if possible.
The RCGP said the findings give strong support for their call for GPs “to remain firmly at the centre of patient care”.
The body said almost nine in 10 Scots, 88%, support their campaign for more funding for the GP service.
Dr Miles Mack, chair of RCGP Scotland, said: “GPs are uniquely placed to deliver care others cannot offer, and their rigorous training in delivering this effectively means that they are best placed within the healthcare system as the first port of call for their patients’ needs.
“GPs hugely value the work of our multi-disciplinary team members, but no other professional within our teams can or should be used as a replacement for general practitioners.
“This survey sends a clear message that patients want their GP to remain central to their care as the NHS develops.”
He went on: “We have also been clear that, in order to protect and improve the service provided to our patients, spending on general practice services must be increased to 11% of NHS Scotland’s budget.
“GPs up and down the country are facing huge challenges with increased workload, severely reduced funding and a squeezed workforce.
“I am sure that this huge show of support, both for the importance of our role in patients’ lives and for our campaigning activity, will provide comfort and support to colleagues.”
The organisation represents around 5,000 family doctors in Scotland.
YouGov questioned 1,022 Scottish adults online from April 11-13 this year.