PEOPLE in Glasgow’s poorest communities can expect to live a shorter life in good health than in the most affluent putting severe pressure on GP surgeries an MSP has warned.

As well as a lower life expectance the healthy life expectancy in the most deprived areas is 20 years less than the better off.

The distance between the two communities is less than three miles highlighting the inequality gap that exists within the city.

Patricia Ferguson, Maryhill and Springburn Labour MSP highlighted the problem facing the Balmore Practice in Possilpark which has lost one doctor and struggling to survive in the face of growing pressure on their patient list.

Ms Ferguson led a member’s debate in the Scottish Parliament calling for additional funding for GP practices in the most deprived areas.

She highlighted the rates of lung disease and smoking related illnesses in the Possilpark area.

Across Scotland, the average prevalence per 100 patients of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, is 2.21.

In the Balmore practice in Possilpark it is 4.18 in every 100.and in Hyndland, the figure is only 0.63

Smoking-related ill health figures show that 24.87 people per 100 is the average figure for Scotland, while the Balmore practice has a figure of 29.17, and in Hyndland it is just 13.6.

She said:”It is no wonder that GPs in practices such as Balmore are frustrated and angry about their predicament and that of their patients.”

Ms Ferguson said it meant patients in more affluent areas had more money spend on them

She said: “GPs at the deep end are dealing with patients who have higher levels of multi-morbidity at a younger age.

“Those patients need longer appointments and more follow-up and support. The average spend per annum in those practices is £118 per patient per year, compared with the Scottish average of £123, and £127 per patient per annum in the most affluent fifth.”

The Evening Times reported last month how doctors at the Balmore Practice wrote to the health board to seek extra support after one of its three doctors resigned citing pressure of workload.

A locum is being deployed and a review team investigating the concerns raised.

Jamie Hepburn Minister for health and sport said income inequality is at the root of the problem.

He said: “We recognise that that problem cannot be solved with health solutions alone.

“The UK Government’s welfare reform programme presents the most immediate threat to health inequalities.

“We have taken action to tackle health inequalities. The Government has responded and will continue to respond to mitigate the worst effects of welfare reform wherever we can.”