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New campaign bids to recruit GPs from other parts of UK

A new campaign aims to encourage GPs from other countries to come and work in Scotland (Anthony Devlin/PA)
A new campaign aims to encourage GPs from other countries to come and work in Scotland (Anthony Devlin/PA)

General practice in Scotland is facing significant challenges, doctors’ leaders said as a new campaign was launched to recruit more family doctors.

A new Scottish Government initiative aims to attract more GPs to Scotland from other parts of the UK and elsewhere.

The move is part of the Government’s commitment to take on a further 800 GPs by 2027, with Health Secretary Humza Yousaf saying he is focused on “working with GPs to build a sustainable service for the future”.

The number of GPs working in Scotland increased by 277 between September 2017 and September last year, from 4,918 to 5,195.

But Dr Chris Williams, the joint chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland, said: “Scottish general practice is facing significant challenges and recruiting into the profession has never been more important.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf launched the GP recruitment campaign (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He therefore said he was “delighted to welcome the launch of a new national GP recruitment campaign”.

Dr Williams added: “Scotland is a truly unique place to work as a GP, with a fantastic range of opportunities available, from delivering care in remote and rural communities, to working at the heart of our diverse, inner-city neighbourhoods. There really is something for everyone.

“At RCGP Scotland we will continue to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government and others to ensure that we can build the GP workforce that Scotland requires to deliver the highest standard of care for our patients.”

Mr Yousaf acknowledged that GPs surgeries are still “extremely busy” following Covid, as he recognised the “vital role they have played in responding to the pandemic”.

Speaking as he launched the new recruitment campaign at a surgery in Edinburgh, he added: “Our focus now is on working with GPs to build a sustainable service for the future.

“We are committed to recruiting a further 800 family doctors by 2027 and this campaign, which focuses on the unique attractions of working as a GP in Scotland, supports that aim.

“We have a great deal to offer, both in terms of job satisfaction and lifestyle.”

And it is hoped the campaign will help patients be referred quicker for specialist care and goes hand in hand with recruitment in secondary care.

He added: “Most people if you’ve got a symptom or an ache or a pain, they will go to their GP first. That will be the front door.

“Now the quicker the GP is able to see them, but consequently if they want to refer them to a particular clinical pathway to explore a symptom of potential cancer, then they are able to do that, and at the other side, being able to see that patient more quickly in secondary care.”

Dr Jeremy Chowings, who has for 16 years worked at the Leith surgery Mr Yousaf visited on Wednesday, said the move to recruit more doctors to work in Scottish communities is “very timely” and will help people access support close to home.