Scotland's GP surgeries face demand exceeding capacity with a senior doctor warning some could collapse under the pressure. 

A BMA survey has revealed staff shortages and significant demand is putting practices at "tipping point", the BBC reports. 

A staggering 81% of the practices questioned said demand was exceeding capacity while more than a third reported at least a single GP vacancy.

The survey consulted around half of the GP surgeries in Scotland.

Dr Andrew Buist, chair of the Scottish GP committee at the BMA, told the broadcaster this could force some surgeries to shut.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland he confessed he "sadly" does not believe the NHS is a "first-class service anymore".

He added: "We are absolutely doing our best. Our figures show that 500,000 appointments are given out every week in Scotland.

"We feel for our patients.

"We understand that they are frustrated by this and understandably they get anxious about their health. As indeed, I should say, doctors get about their own families and how they're going to cope with the situation."

The BMA estimates there are currently 312 full-time equivalent vacancies across GP practices in Scotland.

The senior doctor urged for more commutation from the government about staff shortages.

Mr Buist warned that we may be headed towards a "two-tier health service" but emphasised he wanted to avoid it reaching that point. 

But resources must be invested in primary care, or the whole system could "come tumbling down", he said in a stark warning. 

"We're not putting the resources into primary care, into general practice, where it's most needed. It is the foundation of the National Health Service.

"If we undervalue it and under-resource it, it will crumble and the rest of the healthcare system will come tumbling down."

"We need more openness from our government to explain what is going on," he added.

"This conversation cannot be left to the reception desk or the consulting room. From the very top, we need the government to explain to the public that we're doing everything we can.

"In these difficult circumstances, we must prioritise the most sick and that means sometimes people will have to wait or they might not get seen at all."

Speaking on the vacancies, Dr Buist added that the career has loss its appeal to many.

He said: "It's a great job being a GP, it should be, but it's a really tough job and you're maybe seeing 60 people in a day.

"People towards the end of their careers are leaving earlier because they're getting burnt out, and younger doctors are not coming in sufficient numbers to replace them. It's lost it's sparkle."

But staff shortages are not the only issue with demand contributing to the perfect storm. 

With the age of Scotland's population rising, more people need the service.

"Excessive workload is the single biggest thing. The number of people over 65 and Scotland has increased by a third since the year 2000. Age is what drives needs in the healthcare system." 

The warning comes as some healthcare workers, including Scotland's nurses for the first time in history, have announced intentions to strike.