New con­tract for Scots GPs set to cut work­load

Evening Times - - NEWS - By TOM TORRANCE

A NEW con­tract for Scot­land’s GPs will re­duce their work­load at the same time as bring­ing in a min­i­mum earn­ing ex­pec­ta­tion of just over £80,000.

The Scot­tish Govern­ment will also pro­vide an ex­tra £30 mil­lion over the next three years to help GPs re­duce the risks as­so­ci­ated with own­ing or leas­ing their own premises.

The new GP con­tract prom­ises a “re­fo­cus­ing” of the role of fam­ily doc­tors as “ex­pert med­i­cal gen­er­al­ists”.

As part of this change, some du­ties cur­rently per­formed by GPs will be car­ried out by other health­care pro­fes­sion­als in the wider pri­mary care team – such as vac­ci­na­tions and com­mu­nity men­tal health ser­vices – while phar­ma­cists will deal more with re­peat pre­scrip­tions and drug re­views for pa­tients.

A change in the way the ser­vice is de­signed will al­low doc­tors to present more time with pa­tients where this is needed, par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fit­ing those with sev­eral com­pli­cated med­i­cal con­di­tions.

Doc­tors’ lead­ers at the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (BMA) Scot­land have been in­volved in draft­ing the new con­tract – which they say could make gen­eral prac­tice “fit for the fu­ture”.

Dr Alan McDe­vitt, chair of the BMA’s Scot­tish GP com­mit­tee, said: “This con­tract of­fers so­lu­tions to the pres­sures faced by gen­eral prac­tice. By ex­pand­ing the pri­mary care team and work­ing with in­te­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties to im­prove pa­tient ac­cess to ser­vices de­liv­ered by other pro­fes­sion­als, such as prac­tice nurses, phar­ma­cists and phys­io­ther­a­pists, GPs can have more time to con­cen­trate on be­ing GPs.

“The ad­di­tional fund­ing at­tached to this con­tract is a sig­nifi- cant in­vest­ment and demon­strates the value placed on the role of gen­eral prac­tice in the NHS in Scot­land.

“The new con­tract of­fers in­come sta­bil­ity and re­duced busi­ness risk to in­di­vid­u­als.”

A new fund­ing for­mula will be in­tro­duced for GP prac­tices that “bet­ter re­flects prac­tice work­load” un­der the new con­tract while a min­i­mum earn­ings ex­pec­ta­tion is planned to to en­sure no GP part­ner earns less than £80,430 (in­clud­ing pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions) by April 2019.

That could mean that one in five GP part­ners are bet­ter off, ac­cord­ing to the Scot­tish Govern­ment.

GPs will now vote on whether to agree the new con­tract, with a bal­lot tak­ing place be­tween De­cem­ber 7 and Jan­uary 4, next year.

The re­sult of this will be dis­cussed at the BMA’s Scot­tish GP com­mit­tee on Jan­uary 18 2018, where a de­ci­sion will be taken on whether to ac­cept the deal.

Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son chats to Jane McNiven with her grand­daugh­ter Evie and nurse Eileen McGin­ness dur­ing a visit to The Green med­i­cal prac­tice in Cly­de­bank for the launch of the pro­posed GP con­tract

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