The Recruitment and Retention Programme was launched in June 2015 to help boost Scotland's doctor numbers
THE SNP’S £5million investment to boost GP numbers reaped just 18 recruits over two years, it emerged yesterday.
The dismal figures were revealed by Health Secretary Shona Robison amid warnings of doctor shortages in the near future.
Responding to a parliamentary question from the Conservatives, Ms Robison said five GPs had been taken on in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, three in Ayrshire and Arran, two in Borders, one in Lothian and seven in Tayside.
Tory shadow health secretary Miles Briggs hit out last night: “It’s no wonder Scotland is in the grip of a general practice crisis when the SNP government fails so miserably to attract doctors to the job.
“This was launched with the promise of delivering GPs for rural and deprived areas. Instead, it’s led to a handful of new appointments which will barely have any impact at all.
“At this rate it would take this scheme almost a century to address the shortage of 856 GPs we’re expected to have.”
Mr Briggs said the figures pointed to a “another blatant failing”, after watchdogs Audit Scotland criticised the government for not properly planning NHS staffing in the face of growing demand.
The GP Recruitment and Retention Programme was launched in June 2015 and was initially backed by £2.5million of funding.
But it was extended in March and another £2.5million was awarded to help fund GP bursaries and expand a scheme to encourage retired practitioners to return to work.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “In surgeries across the country the recruitment crisis is causing staff to consider their own futures, yet just a handful of recruits have been secured through this flagship scheme.”
But Ms Robison insisted more than 90 per cent of Scotland’s 1,082 GP training places are full.
She added: “Scotland has more GPs per head of population than the rest of the UK.
“We are also working with the British Medical Association to deliver a new GP contract which will provide a strengthened and clarified role for Scotland’s GPs.”