This paper cites the issues of poor connectivity (mobile and broadband), problems with recruitment and retention, increasing workload and fragility of support services as some of the main threats to patient care. In particular, the College in Scotland is calling for the eradication of the current inequalities in access to good primary healthcare provision by addressing these areas, and is keen to work with Scottish Government, health boards, partners and stakeholders to prevent a deepening crisis.
Dr Miles Mack, Chair Elect of RCGP Scotland and one of the author’s of the report, told the Herald newspaper,
“Smartphone capabilities fail in a great deal of rural areas, as there’s no data service at all. Then there’s mobile connectivity – how do you call an ambulance if your phone doesn’t work?”
He also expressed grave concern about the difficulties in recruiting GPs to rural areas telling the newspaper that some health boards have to rely on expensive locums, who may not have the appropriate skills to run GP services, as they cannot attract permanent staff to rural locations.