Headlines: February 8th, 2010

Family doctors’ leaders are calling on the Scottish Government to take action to support the development of new GP practices in growing communities. The call has come from the BMA and the Royal College of General Practitioners at the beginning first National General Practice Week in Scotland.

The organisations say Scotland’s population is expected to rise by seven per cent to 5.54 million by 2033 with 19 of the country’s 32 council areas predicted to see an increase. The growth will be uneven with areas such as East Lothian expected to grow by a third. They say that the population rises and the increasing stocks of new housing being developed across the country will create pressure on existing general practices.

Today doctors are warning that their patient lists are growing and that this is affecting people’s ability to access local services. They want the Government to ensure that town planners have a duty to consider the impact of housing developments on local health services. They also want to see measures to provide support for the creation of new practices where there is significant population growth.

Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “At present there is no requirement for planning departments to consider the impact of new housing developments on local health services, we believe that it would be common sense to include this as part of the planning process.”