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Editors call for ‘real change’ after joint probe into healthcare ‘crisis’

A daily newspaper and investigative journalism platform have called for “real change” to healthcare services after teaming up to examine the issue.

The ‘GPs in Crisis’ investigation by The ferret and Glasgow-based daily The Herald has highlighted the reality facing both patients and GPs across Scotland today.

The three-day series looks at doctor and patient perspectives, the rise of private healthcare and crucially, the solutions to some of the severe issues facing NHS primary healthcare.

It began yesterday, providing a splash for The Herald, by publishing exclusive analysis revealing the number of patients registered to each GP has increased at almost one third of practices across Scotland in the last three years, with some doubling or even quadrupling the number of people registered with a single doctor.

Herald gps

Today’s edition focuses on private healthcare companies moving into primary care and looking at the rise of GP chains, while tomorrow’s will look at potential solutions to the issues raised.

It is the fifth series in the award-winning partnership between the two titles.

Karin Goodwin, co-editor of The Ferret, said: “It’s clear both from the perspective of GPs and the patients relying on their services that primary health care is in crisis.

“Often the two sides are pitted against each other, but our investigation shows that both want the same thing – good, sustainable NHS health care that everyone can rely on.

“The challenges are deep and multiple – we have an ageing population and an increasing number of patients that each doctor needs to help. But we heard from those who claim that solutions, including different ways of working, have been evidenced.

“They insist Scotland is not powerless here – change is possible.”

Catherine Salmond, editor of The Herald, added: “GPs are the very frontline of the NHS and our investigation highlights the real difficulties many practices and patients are enduring.

“Hopefully our findings can lead to real change for the sake of both practices and their patients.”