LAST week in the Scottish Parliament I led a debate on the GP recruitment problem in Scotland. My motion about the crisis was, perhaps unusually, supported by all political parties in the parliament. Except one.

This is a growing problem across Scotland; a lack of GPs, lengthy waiting times for appointments, too short an appointment time and in some cases practices being returned to the health board to run. Figures released last week by the Royal College of General Practitioners show that the number of GP surgeries who have handed their contract back to their local health board has skyrocketed since the SNP came to power.

In 2008 there were roughly 83,000 patients receiving treatment in such practices, by 2016 it was 160,000 – a jump of over 90 per cent.

How does that translate locally? Well in 2008 the number was 2,842 in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, last year it was 4,720. That’s a 66 per cent increase.

You might ask what does that mean and how does that impact me? These figures represent people who are seen in a practice which has usually lost its permanent GP staff and is being run, at much higher cost, by temporary locum GPs.

It also means you don’t get seen by the same doctor regularly and that appointments will often be limited in availability and duration.

I’ve had a number of Inverclyde constituents call me in recent weeks to tell me that they aren’t able to get just a 10-minute appointment and have to wait weeks to be seen.

After a decade in power, the SNP has quite simply taken its eye off the ball on health and I think this is unacceptable.

If the situation continues to be ignored, then it will only get worse. Warnings from the Royal College of General Practitioners, who said that Scotland could face a shortfall of 828 GPs by 2021, are also going ignored. The pressure this GP crisis puts on hospitals and A+E departments is intolerable.

Clearly this situation is not sustainable. In this important Holyrood debate last week just a handful of SNP MSPs showed up to the debate. The Health Secretary Shona Robison didn’t deem it important enough to show up to, nor did the First Minister, who presided over our NHS for five years.

The figures around Greater Glasgow & Clyde are troubling and aren’t likely to improve in the near future. We simply cannot accept a situation where Greenock residents struggle to even get an appointment with their regular GP.

Instead of attacking me for raising this issue I would have expected SNP MSPs to participate in a constructive debate on this growing problem. Wishful thinking perhaps.

They are happy to sign motions on the politics of other European countries politics, but not on the future of things that matter to people in Inverclyde.