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GPs meet health minister

A LOCAL doctor will join Shetland MSP Tavish Scott to discuss the issue of GP vacancies in the islands with Scottish health minister Shona Robison on Tuesday.

Scott says he is pressing for the government to provide support for the recruitment of permanent local GPs.

He says a lack of recruitment over a number of years had left practices such as Whalsay, Yell and Lerwick under financial strain with “substantial costs” from providing temporary GP cover.

Concerns have been expressed by local GPs, Scott says, that NHS Shetland may have to consider squeezing already tight budgets at smaller doctor’s practices  across the islands.

“People across Shetland depend on GP practices,” the MSP says ahead of the meeting. “Primary care is the bedrock of the NHS in the islands.

“Everyone including NHS Shetland wants to reduce the uncertainty and cost of temporary GP cover. The aim must be to recruit full time, permanent GPs for local practices.

“At a time when health budgets are being squeezed, this continuing situation does not help. So I will be asking the health secretary to step in and assist. After all the NHS is a top-down bureaucracy driven by ministers in Edinburgh.”