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GPs could stop doing childhood and travel vaccinations under new plans

A move away from GPs doing childhood and travel vaccinations, while retaining funding, forms part of plans to overhaul the GP contract in Scotland.

The news comes as part of an announcement that the full new Scottish GMS contract will not come in from April 2017, as was planned, with the current 'pay stability' deal extended to April 2018.

In a joint statement today the GPC and Government said there would be no 'big bang' overhaul next year but rather a gradual change towards relieving GPs of workload and increasing overall primary care funding.

To that end, the parties said that they have agreed to 'a full review of all aspects of GP pay and expenses that will take place in 2017, and inform options from 2018'.

'To allow this work to take place we are therefore extending the current pay stability agreement to April 2018,' the parties added.

They said they would also 'review current GMS services with a view, where appropriate, to transfer responsibility for those services to the wider healthcare system'.

Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said workload they are looking at having removed from practices and carried out elsewhere included childhood and travel vaccinations.

This follows the move already to remove QOF to reduce bureaucracy in GP consultations.

Dr McDevitt said that the period of 'pay stability' meant the contract would be unchanged from April apart from the 'business as usual' uplift review including the DDRB.

He told Pulse: 'We will introduce a number of changes to the contract from October 2017. We will also be looking to transfer services without losing income associated with it. To begin with we are looking at childhood vaccinations and travel advice and vaccination.

‘Obviously that is quite a complex thing, getting someone else to provide it, and so that will take quite a bit of organising. But we intend to start that happening in 2017, and there will be no loss of income to practices which are no longer doing that.’

A joint letter from the Scottish GPC and Scottish Government sent to all GPs said: 'We hope to see first steps taken in 2017, with further changes in the years ahead.'

But it added that 'the nature of the changes require careful planning in line with the planned increase of both funding and staff resources, and ensuring stability' and that 'this does not fit well with a “big bang” approach but represents a measured step-wise approach to changing the GP contract and primary care'.

The Scottish Government, which last month pledged an extra £500m in funding for general practice in Scotland by 2020/21 to take it up to 11% of total NHS funding, said today's joint agreement was 'significant because it is the bedrock of a strong partnership between the Scottish Government and the GP profession'.

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: '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.'

Speaking earlier this year at Pulse Live in Edinburgh, Dr McDevitt said the new Scottish GP contract would save the independent GP contractor model in Scotland.


Readers' comments (11)

  • could we have the same deal in England ? If not I might have to move to Scotland .

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  • My goodness, are they going to pour more work on the GPs and close down hospital units?
    I suppose GPs will be forced to become like small cut price hospital outpatient units and take all the liability for the whole lot of staff who work with them as well as provide the staff with insurance cover. If the gov can do this then good luck to them. Glad I am out!
    Not very enticing...

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  • Shifting work away from QoF, now immunisations sometime at the end of next year is not enough! This in effect is reducing my nurses workload but not mine! I have been waiting 2 years for the new Scottish Contract changes to be announced for April 2017 to make a decision about wether to carry on in General Practice.

    This news is not good enough and the changes are so very slow despite the past few years about talking and talking about it. Eventually when the different ways of working come in to effect there will be no more GPs left on the ground.

    Game over for me.

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  • So if the funding is being left with the GP, who exactly is ready to take on childhood vaccinations, which we'd all agree are pretty crucial to the welfare of our children, and do it for nothing!!

    Bet they're knocking at the door... not

    Or is there extra finding somewhere. If so why not simply give it to the GPs

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  • In Glasgow Childhood Immunisations done by HV , so NO reduction in workload for Staff or GPs
    Will the same apply for childhood flu and pregnant women?

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  • Mr Mephisto

    Roger Boyle 11:41am

    You are lucky. Our Health Visitors stopped dong childhood vaccinations some time ago.

    Our HV service seem like they are intent in committing the entire HV workforce to "child protection" investigations - that is certainly where most of their resources seem to be tied up at present.

    Getting the HV system to take away all of the administration and delivery of childhood vaccinations would be a forward step for us.

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  • At least in Salford very wisely then PCT reduced HV number creating a crisis
    Then added child protection workload crumbling HV number and moral by so-called forward thinking

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  • How long can GP's martyr themselves and subsidise the NHS for the wellbeing of the oblivious public?
    Market forces will force these to become a pay per vaccination

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  • I did not become a doctor to martyre myself. I did it as it was at the time a good profession and it also helped people.

    Now if you are a doctor in the NHS you have to be a martyre and increasingly have to support the slack of the entirity of the NHS unfunded patient demands on your shoulders for free. So you are paying directly for their excess demands.

    You have to effectively pay extra insurance too, for others working in the NHS who are not deemed to bear the complete responsibility of their own actions. Why doctors have to do this is beyond me as it is effectively directly subsidising the NHS/joe public.

    Indeed the amount of unfunded work or insurance cover of other professionals that doctors make should be calculated. Once this is done, although it may be depressing, it will show the percentage of how much that 'good will' is currently funding the NHS.

    Also it will show how much doctors are giving away for free or actually paying for, for covering others' from their insurance.

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  • GPs in Enland are allowed to opt out of providing childhood vaccines but with some reduction in Global sum like minor surgery.If they achieve the high targets i.e. 90% they are paid substantial amount as reward.However, these targets are bias against small practices (BMJ 1990 performance target). Recently some of small practice have been judged inadequate by CQC ,who have actually opted out!. So they are held accountable for serve which that not agreed to provide.Since it is community service provided by community before GP leaders in their own wisdom
    brought into General Practice it is high time they return it back to community or privete provider how about pharmacists.

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