Blog: Housebuilding should be prioritised, not impeded with GP surgeries

Harry Smith
Harry Smith

Housebuilder contributions to the cost of new surgeries will not solve the problem of under-pressure GP services, writes Harry Smith, Partner at Gillespie Macandrew

I have noted with interest the recent discussions in the media that new house building is responsible for increasing pressure on local medical services, primarily GP practices, and suggestions that housebuilders should be made through the planning system to contribute to construction of new surgeries as a means of easing the additional demand.

Such a requirement in our planning system will not only add complexities to a system the Scottish Government is trying to simplify, but will not solve the problem that GP services are suffering from.

Contributing to the cost of the bricks and mortar to house doctors will do nothing to provide the required health care where there are no doctors to occupy these surgeries. Primary care across Scotland, not only near new housing development, is suffering the same ailment because the number of trainee GPs continues to fall as our current doctors edge closer to retirement age.

In fact, the construction of new, energy efficient housing will improve the health of those lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy or rent one. The benefits to the construction industry, the economy in general and to the wellbeing of those living in new housing should mean that we prioritise new house building not seek to tax it or throw up other impediments to it happening.

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