High­land GPs ‘are com­pletely be­trayed’ by new con­tract

The Herald - - NEWS - HE­LEN MCAR­DLE HEALTH COR­RE­SPON­DENT

FAM­ILY doc­tors in the High­lands feel “com­pletely be­trayed” by the fund­ing split at the heart of the new GP con­tract, a lead­ing medic has warned.

Dr Iain Kennedy, med­i­cal sec­re­tary of the High­land Lo­cal Med­i­cal Com­mit­tee (LMC) and a North Scot­land GP rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the BMA Scot­tish Coun­cil, made the com­ment af­ter rev­e­la­tions the vast ma­jor­ity of ru­ral prac­tices will get no ex­tra in­come while ur­ban GP part­ners re­ceive es­ti­mated av­er­age up­lifts of £10,200 each.

Dr Kennedy said: “For our mem­bers in High­land, it al­most feels like a knife has been twisted. Not only are we be­ing moved in the di­rec­tion of a salaried-type con­tract that none of us want, but fur­ther­more we’re now dis­cov­er­ing that re­sources would ap­pear to be get­ting di­verted from our mem­bers in High­land to­wards more af­flu­ent ur­ban prac­tices in the Cen­tral Belt.

“My mem­bers are in­creas­ingly an­gry, dis­il­lu­sioned and dis­ap­pointed.”

It comes af­ter The Her­ald re­vealed an anal­y­sis of the new con­tract’s work­load-based fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion for­mula by Oban GP, Dr Erik Jes­persen. He said it would mean only 68 per cent of GP part­ners in Scot­land will share in a £23.2 mil­lion tax­payer-funded wind­fall, while the rest – largely in ru­ral ar­eas and some in Scot­land’s most de­prived prac­tices – would get noth­ing.

The rise equates to a 10.2 per cent hike per part­ner, or £10,239 based on an av­er­age full-time part­ner salary of £100,000. Dr Jes­persen also warned “a ma­jor­ity” of GP part­ners will use the cash to boost their salaries, rather than in­vest it in their prac­tices.

The BMA dis­putes Dr Jes­persen’s cal­cu­la­tions, but the GP said it was the most ac­cu­rate es­ti­mate pos­si­ble based on the most re­cent work­force data for Scot­land. His view has been cor­rob­o­rated by sev­eral health­care statis­ti­cians.

A vote on whether to ac­cept the new con­tract will take place on Jan­uary 18 at a meet­ing of the Scot­tish GP Com­mit­tee (SGPC). It fol­lows a na­tional bal­lot of GPs, which closed on Jan­uary 4.

Dr Kennedy wrote to Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son and the BMA be­fore Christ­mas ask­ing that a re­gional break­down of the poll re­sults be shared with SGPC mem­bers be­fore they vote, amid fears that the con­tract is cre­at­ing a bit­ter split in the pro­fes­sion.

He said he was “con­fi­dent” this would now be agreed to on Thurs­day.

Mean­while, Con­ser­va­tive shadow health sec­re­tary Miles Briggs, said the po­ten­tial GP pay hike risked mak­ing lower-paid NHS work­ers feel “left be­hind or un­der-val­ued”.

Dr Alan McDe­vitt, chair­man of the BMA Scot­land’s GP Com­mit­tee, said: “If im­ple­mented, the changes to the work­load for­mula will ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion that cur­rently sees many GP prac­tices un­der­funded for the amount of work that they carry out, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to el­derly pa­tients and those in de­prived ar­eas.

“This un­der­fund­ing im­pacts on the level of ser­vice that prac­tices are able to pro­vide to their pa­tients and in a num­ber of cases has con­trib­uted to prac­tices hand­ing back their con­tract to the health board. The pro­posed con­tract will en­sure ev­ery prac­tice in Scot­land has their fi­nances pro­tected, while pro­vid­ing more sup­port to prac­tices with un­der-re­sourced higher work­loads.”

How The Her­ald re­ported on fears for ru­ral prac­tices yes­ter­day.

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