THE number of GPs in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire could be set to increase after the Scottish Government announced plans to recruit a further 800 nationwide.

Health Secretary Shona Robison told GPs at a special British Medical Association (BMA) conference that the move will ensure long term sustainability of GP practice.

There are currently around 4,900 GPs in Scotland, but this will hopefully be 5,700 or more by the end of 2027.

Ms Robison also announced £7.5million in 2018-19 to recruit and retain GPs, particularly in rural areas.

Ms Robison said: “The new GP contract, a historic joint agreement between the Scottish Government and the BMA, will ensure that GPs are able to spend more time with patients and less time on bureaucracy. If accepted, it will help cut doctors’ overall workload and make general practice an even more attractive career prospect.

“However, we want to go further. As multi-disciplinary teams are developed further within GP practices, our ambition is to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over 10 years to ensure a sustainable service for the future. GP recruitment concerns are not unique to Scotland, however our commitment to invest £7.5million, including expanding the remote and rural incentive scheme and relocation funds, should have a real impact going forward.

“Ultimately, this will ensure people across Scotland continue to receive a high standard of care whether they’re in Newtonmore or Newton Mearns, and that those who need to see GPs are given the time they need.”

The Government is set to run an intensive recruitment scheme over the next 10 years to boost the number of GPs who wish to work in Scotland and there will be continued professional development and mentoring support for GPs in the first five years of their career.

Chair of BMA Scotland’s GP committee, Dr Alan McDevitt, said he looks forward to the delivery of the “sensible and realistic” target.