After First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s recent flying visit to the county, Labour candidate Fiona O’Donnell has challenged her and the local SNP candidate to spell out what they will do to address the growing GP recruitment crisis.

Ms O’Donnell and Iain Gray MSP recently highlighted the difficulties many local people face making appointments to see their GP, including in Prestonpans where local GPs have spoken out about difficulties recruiting new staff.

Last month, representatives of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said that Scotland will suffer a shortfall of nearly 1,000 GPs by 2020 unless urgent action is taken to address the problem.

However, despite these growing concerns from GPs and patients, the SNP Scottish Government still has no plan for dealing with either this workforce crisis or the many other problems facing the NHS.

Speaking after Ms Sturgeon departed the county by helicopter, Fiona O’Donnell said:

“Earlier this year Iain Gray and I met with representatives of Prestonpans Health Centre to discuss concerns about pressures on local services. They highlighted the growing nationwide problem with GP recruitment and the detrimental impact it is having on local health services. Local people are feeling the strain with many areas experiencing longer waits to see a GP.

“The SNP have been in power at Holyrood for eight years, but have failed our NHS in that time. For most of those eight years Nicola Sturgeon was in charge of our health service. I think people would have preferred if she got her feet back on the ground and came up with a plan for delivering more GPs here in East Lothian, rather than just taking selfies and glad-handing SNP supporters.

“Scottish Labour has a plan for dealing with this workforce crisis. We are committed to using the proceeds of the UK-wide mansion tax to recruit 500 new GPs and 1,000 more nurses. That is the sort of positive policy that will help us improve our local health services and achieve a fairer Scotland.”

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