Future of Primary Care

Thursday November 3rd 2016

bonnyrigg medical practice

A joint agreement on the future direction of GP services has been signed by the Scottish Government and doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA)

The agreement, sent to all GPs this morning, sets out a shared vision for how primary care services can be improved, and the role GPs have to play.

As part of the plans the Scottish Government has committed to pay stability for GPs up to April 2018 while a full review of pay and expenses can be carried out next year.

There will also be work with health and social are partnerships and health boards to see which services currently provided by GPs would be better transferred to the wider healthcare system. The aim will be to meet patients’ needs in the best way by reconfiguring services to make use of the mix of skills in primary care.

The memorandum will be used as the basis for a re-negotiation of the GP contract, which is negotiated between the Scottish Government and the profession.

Last month the First Minister announced that annual investment in primary care will be increased by £500 million by the end of this Parliament. This will see 11% of NHS frontline spending dedicated to primary care.

Today’s agreement sets out the next steps on the redesign of services, so that GPs can become clinical leaders of expanded teams of health professionals working in the community.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “This agreement is significant because it is the bedrock of a strong partnership between the Scottish Government and the GP profession. We want to improve and redesign the way health services are provided in the community, but this can only be achieved by working in partnership with profession.

“We are significantly increasing the amount of investment going into primary care – an extra £500 million by the end of this Parliament. However, as we have made consistently clear, we must also reform the way we provide services.

“We are shifting the balance of care away from hospitals and into the community, and GPs have a vital role to play in working with us to make it happen. For our part we will work to improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career, with action on workloads, and steps to create a more sustainable workforce.”

Dr Alan McDevitt, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said:

“This important agreement is the result of on-going negotiations that began last year. In April, we agreed the removal of Quality and Outcomes Framework and have negotiated a number of other measures including new maternity and paternity support; a national performers list; occupational health service for all GPs and practice staff and funding for emergency oxygen.

“Our shared vision for the future of Scottish general practice requires a team approach. It relies on clinical and non-clinical staff working together and to progress this there needs to be discussion that goes beyond the GP contract. We are mindful that this is an on-going process, that further contractual changes will be necessary and that it will take time to make general practice in Scotland sustainable for the future.

“Following on from the First Minister’s commitment to invest an additional £500 million a year in primary care by 2021/22, we will continue to negotiate how to modernise the contract, improve access to general practice and improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career to ensure that patients continue to receive the care they need.”

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