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    Wednesday, 25 July 2018 14:03
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    Doctors reminded to preserve patient records for UK Infected Blood Inquiry

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    NAO gives NHS vanguards a mixed review

    Monday, 02 July 2018 16:45
  • Scotland to expand international recruitment for doctors and nurses

    Scotland to expand international recruitment for doctors and nurses

    Friday, 22 June 2018 16:07
  • GP trainee round 1 recruitment increases 10%

    GP trainee round 1 recruitment increases 10%

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First5 Health FailureSeptember 3 2014

The RCGP Scotland has warned there is a crisis regarding recruitment and retention of GPs in rural areas in Scotland.

It says the problem is complex and has many factors ranging from IT connectivity and transport through to workload and family life.

“When brought together, as is the case, these constitute a particularly challenging environment in which to recruit and retain both GPs and other healthcare professionals to remote and rural environments,” says the report.

It has four main aims, to:

•    help eradicate current inequalities in access to good primary healthcare provision in rural areas.
•    increase recruitment and retention for rural practitioners through actions at school, undergraduate, GP training and continuing postgraduate development levels.
•    promote rural general practice in Scotland as the exciting and rewarding career that it is.
•    achieve better mobile and broadband coverage throughout remote and rural areas of Scotland to better manage patient care.

It says a lack of investment has resulted in poor mobile phone signal and poor broadband internet connections. “The decision to allow mobile reception providers to cover a percentage of population rather than land area has been detrimental to rural populations. The rollout of 4G ultra-fast mobile networks has begun and yet many rural areas of Scotland have no mobile signal at all.”

Workload is affected in part because GP practices in many rural and remote areas have been unable to opt of out-of-hours provision. The national drive to shift care from secondary to primary care is also adding to pressure.

“Many GPs continue to carry full responsibility for 24 hour care, and despite moves to shift workload to other professionals, GPs remain ultimately responsible for much of the clinical care in rural areas,” says the report.

The authors flag up the need to promote the positive attractions of rural general practice. This can start at school when recruiting medical students, as there is evidence that recruiting from a rural background increases the chance of graduates returning to practise in rural communities.

It points out that the ‘Rural Track GP Training’ programme established by the Scottish Deanery is growing in popularity, and asks that the scheme be extended. Further work could also be done throughout professional development training to develop the skills appropriate for rural practice.

A number of factors including housing, employment opportunities for spouses or partners, schooling and mobile broadband coverage all impact on family life. There is also professional and social isolation to consider, it says.

The Scottish Government has recently announced the General Medical Services contract agreement for 2014-15. This has removed the automatic entitlement to ‘Golden Hellos’ except in remote/rural or deprived areas from 1 January 2015 and instead will use the funding to create a new arrangement for boards to make payments available to practices in Scotland where there is evidence of significant recruitment difficulties.

Links:

RSGP Scotland Rural Strategy document

Scottish Government General Medical Service Contract 2014-15 announcement

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