Residents of South East Edinburgh were left unimpressed by Jenni Minto MSP’s visit to the Conan Doyle Medical Centre in Liberton.
Jenni was visiting the GP service as Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport and she completely ignored the anger of my constituents at the Scottish Government’s handling of the GP crisis.
In my constituency, public service improvement has not kept pace with the development encouraged by the Scottish Government and 20,000 residents in Edinburgh South now have no access to a GP. Over a decade ago, NHS Lothian warned that GP services in Edinburgh were at risk of ‘failure’ if there was no direct help from the Scottish Government.
That help from the Scottish Government was not forthcoming and now GP services are in real danger of collapsing. At Gracemount Medical Centre, patients are texted every Friday to ask them to avoid visiting their practice unless it is in case of an emergency.
In Liberton, plans for a new GP service in the new Liberton High School site were scrapped after the Scottish Government pulled the funding for it in January.
I wrote to Jenni Minto, calling for action to save our GP services, rather than more warm words and photo opportunities. Instead, I received a response from Michael Matheson MSP, the SNP’s Health Secretary, passing responsibility onto NHS Lothian and our hardworking GPs, even though they have been warning of this situation for over a decade.
I replied to Mr Matheson’s letter, calling on the Scottish Government to take responsibility for its actions and finally invest in our GPs. I await a response.