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Edward Mountain MSP calls on SNP Government to set target date for return of face-to-face GP services after the Scottish Conservatives led a debate in the Scottish Parliament urging for SNP Ministers to timetable for such appointments in Strathspey and Badenoch and the rest of the NHS Highland area

By Ian Duncan

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Edward Mountain MSP.
Edward Mountain MSP.

Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain is calling on the SNP Government to set a target date for the return of more normal, face-to-face GP services.

His call comes after the Scottish Conservatives led a debate in the Scottish Parliament urging SNP Ministers to commit to outlining when patients will routinely be able to see their GP face-to-face in NHS Highland.

The SNP-Green Government and other parties voted against the Scottish Conservative motion.

Mr Mountain has thanked GPs in NHS Highland for going above and beyond during the pandemic but says they are completely overwhelmed.

That is also having a knock-on effect in other health services in NHS Highland, including waiting times for ambulances and A&E services.

He said the SNP Government were warned for years about a lack of funding for GP services in NHS Highland, but failed to take any action.

The MSP said: “The refusal of the SNP-Green Government to back a swifter return to more normal, face-to-face GP appointments in NHS Highland is extremely disappointing.

“The SNP cannot use Covid as an excuse. They were warned for years about how our GPs in NHS Highland were overwhelmed and underfunded, but they failed to take any action.

“Our GPs have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to support patients but the service is reaching breaking point. The SNP’s mismanagement of the health service over the last 14 years is failing GPs as they try to recover from the pandemic.

“By refusing to set this target date, SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is letting down patients across the Highlands.

“Humza Yousaf’s flimsy NHS Recovery Plan has provided no solutions to increase the capacity of GP services and fix the spiralling NHS crisis.

“The demands on GPs are having a knock-on effect on ambulance wait times and A&E departments too. As we head towards winter, these pressures will only worsen.

“I will be continuing to hold the SNP Government to account, and push for a return of more face-to-face appointments between patients and their GP.”

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