We cherish our local GPs. I’m sure many people in Alloa will have been lucky to have enjoyed the same experience where my doctor also treated my family members, and we were treated by the same doctor from cradle to adulthood.

Local GPs play an important role in our lives, and indeed the wider community. But all too often they are taken for granted by the Scottish Government.

Local doctors are being asked to do more with less, with growing patient lists and fewer resources.

With many doctors due to retire or moving to part-time hours, it’s clear that primary care is facing a looming crisis.

So much so that the Royal College of GPs has warned that Scotland will be 740 GPs short by 2020.

That is why I sent a survey to doctors across the country - 352 doctors at 389 practices across the country, including Alloa, took the time to respond.

Even though this report is based on a self-selected sample the large sample size provides confidence that it reflects opinion of general practitioners.

The results are staggering.

Over a third of Scotland’s local doctors would not follow the same path if given the choice again.

They identify workload as a major reason with only a small fraction reporting that their workload is manageable. The remainder report that the workload is unmanageable or heavy at times.

Most would prefer to abolish the Quality Outcomes Framework of the Contract and of the remainder most want it reduced.

Only half of local doctors were aware of the Scottish government’s flagship plan to tackle the problems already facing primary care services.

Almost all of those who expressed an opinion on the plan said it was not sufficient to deal with the crisis.

It is to be regretted that the Scottish Government remains in denial of the looming crisis in Primary Care. The impact of this crisis is being felt far and wide and the problems that have been allowed to develop are deep rooted.

The Royal College of GPs Scotland has published a plan for change. It addresses funding, infrastructure, IT, the GP contract, recruitment and integrated care. All are measures which must be considered by government immediately and urgently.

I am grateful to so many general practitioners for taking the time to complete this questionnaire. In their responses, some told me that they were concerned about the impact this pressure could have on patient safety. Others said that being a GP was a privilege which they felt they were unable to honour due to the demands on their time.

I don’t think it is fair to GPs or to the communities they serve for this crisis to be allowed to continue to develop. Something will have to give, and I hope for our sake, it is the Scottish Government to the demands of doctors.