23rd September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

GPs to share concerns with health minister

NHS Lerwick Health Centre

Lerwick Health Centre is one of those which Tavish Scott says is under financial pressure because of reliance on temporary GPs. Photo: Kenneth Shearer

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison will today hear concerns over the number of GP vacancies in the isles.

MSP Tavish Scott will be joined by local GPs at the meeting in Edinburgh and will press for additional government support in recruiting doctors.

There has been a shortage of GPs for a number of years and practices in Whalsay, Yell and Lerwick have had to turn to temporary doctors as a stop gap. The use of costly locum GPs has added to the financial strain on the practices.

Mr Scott says the decline in GP recruitment has also led to concerns among local GPs that NHS Shetland may have to consider squeezing the already tight budgets of smaller GP practices across the islands.

Before Tuesday’s meeting Mr Scott said: “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.”

The meeting comes after Mr Scott last week highlighted that the Scottish government’s funding formula had left healthcare in Shetland underfunded by £900,000. Mr Scott pressed this point on Ministers at Holyrood.

The MSP said NHS Shetland should be kicking up more of a fuss over the funding gap. And after Ms Robison said the organisation had received “record funding” Mr Scott accused her of using “smoke and mirrors” tactics to try to explain why NHS Shetland was “two per cent” shy of its fair share of funding.

NHS Shetland chief executive said recently that the funding was within one per cent of its funding target and that the budget gap would be closed when the next budget is set in the autumn.

More in Friday’s Shetland Times.

13 comments

  1. Iantinkler

    Now the NHS has been a devolved issue under the care of the SNP for many years, completely outside the control of wicked Westminster, just look at the record. Nothing but downhill since Sturgeon was Secretary of Health, with all her promises of more funding for Shetland Health Board. Dental practitioners gone, General Medical practitioners gone, never mind we still have free prescriptions for the wealthy, we always had free prescriptions for the poor, pity neither wealthy or poor can now get reasonable and satisfactory service from a NHS doctor or dentist, nice one SNP! Scottish health secretary Shona Robison, ” the funding was within one per cent of its funding target and that the budget gap would be closed when the next budget is set in the autumn.” just do not get ill or have toothache till next autumn, if you do tough!!

    Reply
  2. John Tulloch

    I don’t suppose NHS Shetland’s heavy over-representation on the board of Shetland Charitable Trust could have anything to do with the Scottish Government dragging their feet over health funding for Shetland?

    Interesting, though, Shetland being short-changed on health, as well as, education funding by the SG.

    Makes you wonder why anybody concerned for Shetland and Shetlamders’ well-being would consider voting for, far less, joining and campaigning for, the SNP?

    Reply
    • James Watt

      Maybe if John took the “SNP Bad” blinkers of for a second he would realise that once again he is barking up the wrong tree, mind you I’m not sure if the ease with which Tavish led John to this particular tree says more about John or Tavish.

      http://www.shetnews.co.uk/letters/10297-best-financial-deal

      Reply
    • Brian Smith

      Don’t read Iain Kinniburgh’s letter in the Shetland News, John. You might have to rethink your view of the world!

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        What is it in Mr Kinniburgh’s letter that you imagine conflicts with my “world view”?

    • Robin Stevenson

      John, do neither you or Ian get it?…Shetland & Orkney council receive a “Block grant” how they care to spend that is entirely up to your elected council, IF they want to spend it on roads rather than your Health service, then that is entirely up to them, basically it`s like Scotland receiving a “Block Grant” from Westminster, the SG then have to work out who gets what, and what is priority, the Scottish government doesn`t dictate how much your Health board receives, your Councillors do.
      IF either of you have issues that something is being underfunded ask the people in charge of the allocation of funding, but it is NOT the SG.

      [I tried to link Shetland and Orkney funding the other day over one of your other moans, but for some reason it was deleted, look it up, Shetland and Orkney accounts 2015/16]

      Reply
      • Johan Adamson

        I dont think thats right. The allocation for health gets carved up between all the health boards. The councils allocation is separate.

      • Ian Kinniburgh

        Johan is quite correct. Health funding is paid by Scottish Government to NHS Boards….not Local Authorities. The amount of funding available to the Scottish Government for health across Scotland is a result of the application of the Barnett formula and health is a devolved matter entirely for the Scottish Government.
        Each Health Board allocation is made up of a baseline sum towards hospital and prescribing calculated using a needs driven formula etc topped up with additional funding towards Primary Care (GPs etc) patient travel and Dental spend.

        John sadly has misinterpreted the point I was making around the extra £4M which is the increase negotiated over several years as a result of our efforts to have the allocation formula changed. It is not an electioneering stunt, just a statement of how the system has worked

  3. Iantinkler

    Robin Stevenson, We all get, or to be more precise, do not get it (Good Health care). No amount of smoke and mirrors spin from yourself or the SNP PR machine hides the fact our SG run NHS is failing us. Perhaps a little less of the throw away freebies and targeted funding might have been good. Health, education, care homes, only a total idiot could not see the SHP, Sturgeon/Salmond led, downward spiral. Note below.

    Now the NHS has been a devolved issue under the care of the SNP for many years, completely outside the control of wicked Westminster, just look at the record. Nothing but downhill since Sturgeon was Secretary of Health, with all her promises of more funding for Shetland Health Board. Dental practitioners gone, General Medical practitioners gone, never mind we still have free prescriptions for the wealthy, we always had free prescriptions for the poor, pity neither wealthy or poor can now get reasonable and satisfactory service from a NHS doctor or dentist, nice one SNP!

    Reply
  4. John Tulloch

    Ian Kinniburgh’s announcement of an extra £4 million per annum for Shetland is most welcome, however, it has come after years of persistent lobbying by NHS Shetland people who are to be congratulated on this major success.

    It has, of course, been announced two months ahead of the General Election, in which the SNP have high hopes of ousting Scottish Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael from Orkney and Shetland.

    This begs the following questions:

    * Does the extra £4Mpa include the £1.1Mpa already announced?
    * Is the £4Mpa intended to bring Shetland into line with Orkney who are reportedly
    getting £5Mpa extra?
    * Was the extra £4Mpa awarded before or after Tavish Scott’s election year
    intervention?
    * Was the extra £1.1Mpa for Shetland and the £5Mpa for Orkney already announced
    awarded before or after Tavish Scott’s election year intervention?

    Reply
    • Ian Kinniburgh

      John, the extra allocation to Shetland (approx £1.1M) and to Orkney (approx £5M) are as a result of the negotiated changes to the agreed allocation formula and are the result of several years of work evidencing the reason why it costs more to provide services in the Islands and they were made to bring us both to within 1% of our fair share. They were therefore part of the usual allocation process rather than the result of direct political lobbying which may or may not help to secure additional money in the following year, but we will not know that until the 2016/17 allocations are announced at the end of 2015.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Thank you for the clarification, Ian, I now understand the £1.1Mpa already announced is the net gain after the upgrading of Shetland’s “fair share” by £4Mpa.

        Congratulations to all at NHS Shetland involved in this major achievement.

        However, I am still mystified as to why Tavish Scott has made the allegation that Shetland isn’t getting her “fair share” and is busying himself, organising meetings with Lerwick doctors and the health minister – electioneering, perhaps?

        I guess the timing of the announcement is unfortunate, too, because cynics may imagine the Scottish government’s new found generosity was swayed more by the election than by any desire to ensure Shetland receives its “fair share” of health service funding?

  5. Iantinkler

    I note Ian Kinniburgh comments, but however would like to emphasise, the extra funding has come too late for Shetland. We have seen our Health Service standards fall under the SNP regime. The quality of care has deteriorated ever since Sturgeon was Secretary of Health for Scotland, with all her promises of more funding, ironically just before an election. Now, I bit of deja vu perhaps.

    Reply

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