Letters to the Editor – Primary care fails Scots poor

Sir, – You did a great service (June 7) in extracting and publishing the results for Tayside and Fife from the national Health and Care Experience Survey 2015/16.

However, the results are anything but a postcode lottery. A lottery suggests that ease of access to GP services is random, but in fact the figures show that it is closely correlated with levels of economic and social deprivation.

In a league table of 122 surgeries across Fife and Tayside, Lochgelly Health Centre is bottom when it comes to the overall experience of seeing a GP, third from bottom for accessing the surgery by phone, and second from bottom for getting to see a doctor within two days.

In other words, Lochgelly, like other areas in Central Fife, Leven and Dundee, suffers a double whammy – existing social, economic and health inequalities are being compounded by extreme inequalities in primary care provision.

While there is a national shortage of GPs, the figures show deprived areas are hit hardest. Health inequalities have multiple causes, of course, but this is one that is very easy to remedy: send more GPs and health professionals to those areas where clinical need is greatest.

While politicians delay, people in Fife’s most deprived areas are suffering badly, and in some cases dying, just because they cannot get to a GP.

If Scotland were a Third World country, aid agencies would be sending emergency rescue teams.

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