The SNP has presided over a near 10% fall in the number of GP practices since coming to power.
New figures have revealed there were 928 practices across Scotland in 2020, down from 1,025 in 2008.
The statistics, set out in Public Health Scotland’s General Practice report, also show how the average size of a practice list has swollen, with a postcode lottery across Scotland.
On average, each practice had an average of 5,341 patients in 2008. By last year, that had increased to 6,234, a rise of 16.7 per cent.
But there is huge variation across Scotland, with the average practice size in Aberdeen as high as 9,074, compared to 8,065 in Edinburgh, 7,360 in Dundee and 5,158 in Glasgow.
While overall patient numbers and the headcount of GPs have both increased at a similar rate, the number of over 65s has increased by more than a fifth over the past decade.
The SNP government is presiding over a demise in primary care, with a trend for more centralised practices making it harder for elderly and vulnerable patients to access the help of a doctor.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“Since coming to power the SNP has presided over a significant drop in GP practices.
“This approach of reducing the number of locations where GP services are available only makes it more difficult for frail and elderly patients to get to appointments and access the care they need.
“This is made even worse by the postcode lottery across Scotland, with practice sizes in the north-east particularly high.
“Everyone knows how hard it can be to get a GP appointment, and even before the pandemic people were struggling to secure face-to-face time with a doctor.
“Like so many other areas of the NHS, the SNP has neglected general practice while it obsesses about how to break up the UK.
“The entire focus of government should now be on Covid recovery, bringing communities together and rebuilding our NHS; putting patients ahead of the SNP’s desire for division.”
Local breakdown of practice sizes can be found here.
Full data on GP practices between 2010 and 2020 is available here.
A local breakdown of practice sizes and further date on years 2008 and 2009 can be accessed here.
You can read the story in the Daily Record here.