Tess White warns Nicola Sturgeon GP surgery closures in Tayside are putting patients’ safety at risk

Tess White has warned Nicola Sturgeon that the closure of GP surgeries in Tayside is putting patients’ safety at risk and urged the First Minister to address her failing recruitment plan before it’s too late.
​Tess White says the NHS is on its knees.​Tess White says the NHS is on its knees.
​Tess White says the NHS is on its knees.

At First Minister’s Questions recently, the north-east MSP said the closures of practices such as Friockheim, Invergowrie and Wallacetown in Dundee sounded “alarm bells” over the future of the profession.

It comes as Audit Scotland said NHS jobs targets under Scotland's Covid recovery plan are “unlikely to be met” while the GP workforce increased by just 113 between 2017 and 2022.

Ms White spoke of her anger at the recent closures across Tayside, saying patients are paying the price for the SNP’s woeful recruitment plan which is “failing miserably”.

In her question to Ms Sturgeon, she said: “This week, GPs have sounded the alarm that general practice will become ‘an extinct profession’. And they point the finger at ‘a blatant and shameful lack of support from the Scottish Government’.

“Friockheim Medical Centre, Invergowrie Medical Centre, Wallacetown Health Centre, Burghead and Hopeman and Fyvie Oldmeldrum Medical Group in my region have closed, will close or have handed back their contract. And Audit Scotland has warned again that the key target to increase the GP workforce by2027 ‘is not on track’.

“Can the First Minister explain why the action her government is taking is to address the GP recruitment and retention crisis is failing miserably and is putting patient safety at risk?”

In her response, Ms Sturgeon went against the Audit Scotland findings and said: “In terms of the GP recruitment target for 2027, I believe we are on track but as Audit Scotland rightly says that will continue to be challenging but we will continue to focus on that.”

Following FMQs, Ms White added: “These recurring GP closures across Tayside are a damning indictment of years of atrocious NHS workforce planning from the SNP Government. Our NHS is on its knees and Nicola Sturgeon and her failing health secretary need to recruit and, crucially, retain staff if our remaining local medical practices are to survive.

“The Scottish Government must get a grip of this situation before it’s too late.”