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GP practices close in rural Scotland

GP practices close in rural Scotland

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There is not “enough money” for both pharmacies and GP offices in rural areas of Scotland because of lack of funding, according to new government analysis. 

The report from Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland, part of NHS Scotland, showed that since 2009 26 pharmacies have opened and 23 general practices have closed despite a 1.7% population increase. 

Dispensing Doctors Association (DDA) chairman Dr Richard West said: “Funding for services in Scotland appears to make for a choice between dispensing doctors or rural pharmacies. 

DDA board representative for Scotland Dr Hal Maxwell said: "The findings should be seen as clear evidence of why the Government in Scotland must publicly acknowledge the issue of cross subsidy.”

Since 2012, £747,071 was spent on primary medical care, a rise of 0.8 per cent, compared to 2011, while practice list sizes increased 0.3 per cent.

Across four rural health boards, NHS Western Isles, NHS Highland, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland spending on primary medical services fell by an average of 9.6% despite a fall in average practice list size of only 0.1%. 

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