Here is the text of the letter that I wrote to NHS Lothian’s David White, Primary Care Strategic Lead at the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, regarding the growing GP crisis in Edinburgh.
I am writing to you concerning the ongoing crisis in access to GP services in South East Edinburgh.
As you know from previous correspondence, widescale construction in Liberton and Gilmerton and the inevitable population rise that followed has not been met with an increase in GP provision.
Many hardworking families who have moved to the area are now finding that their children cannot attend the local primary school, that their bus routes are being quietly withdrawn and, worst of all, that they cannot access primary care in the area.
You will know that functioning and preventative primary care is one of the best means we have of lightening the burden on emergency care in our NHS and that both patients and service providers deserve better from the Scottish Government.
I know that you got full business case approval for the new Liberton High School cadampus proposals and a draft business case for the Gilmerton Gateway site for new GP practices but the Scottish Government has confirmed again that the funding to build these facilties will not be given.
I wrote to Humza Yousaf when he was Health Secretary and I have written to Michael Matheson, the current Cabinet Secretary for Health, Social Care and NHS Recovery pleading with him to reverse Scottish Government cuts to GP budgets and to reinstate capital funding for these new GP facilities.
I have also written to Cammy Day, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, to request that the council consider adding a GP facility to development plans at the former Liberton Hospital site.
I understand that there is little that you can do to improve service provision in Liberton and Gilmerton when funding from the Scottish Government is not forthcoming, particularly when so much of our NHS infrastructure in Scotland has been ravaged by SNP cuts to health budgets.
Nevertheless, accounting for planned developments in the area, around 20,000 residents will soon be left without access to primary care, worsening their healthcare outcomes in the future.
An NHS Lothian report from 2020 said that without additional GP provision in South Edinburgh, GP services would “fail”. This report has been ignored by the Scottish Government despite them approving more and more new homes via appeals.
Would you be able to outline what plans you have to try and resolve this situation given the lack of available funding to support your plans for new GP practices?
Ian Murray MP