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Future of general practice in Scotland up for debate

By Steve Nowottny

Patients and GPs in Scotland have been asked to help shape the future of general practice in a wide-ranging consultation launched today by the BMA.

Rising patient demands, particularly on access, the GP jobs market and the future of urgent care are just three of the challenges identified by BMA leaders in a ‘white paper' style consultation document they hope will inform a long-term strategy for GPs.

General Practice in Scotland: The Way Ahead seeks views on six key areas – improving access to services, developing the right workforce, reducing health inequalities, shifting the balance of care, providing out of hours care and improving premises and IT.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Dean Marshall said: ‘Every year, more than 23 million consultations take place in GP surgeries across Scotland. For most patients, general practice is the first and only point of contact in the NHS system.'

‘We recognise that the public wants greater access to GP services but this cannot be achieved within the current structures and resources. By consulting on these issues I hope that we can have a sensible debate about what NHS general practice can deliver and where we need to adapt to become more responsive to our patients.'

The consultation closes on 12 June.

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