8. Dr Andrew Buist
New King of the Scots
In a landmark vote earlier this year, GPs in Scotland backed extensive changes to the national GMS contract, which will see some of the biggest reforms introduced since 2004.
As one of the lead negotiators, Dr Buist had a major hand in shaping the proposals, which gained the support of 71.5% of voting GPs – though turnout was admittedly just 39% of eligible BMA members.
The agreed reforms include direct reimbursement of practice and staff expenses, a move away from GPs owning premises and a focus on the GP as an expert medical generalist at the head of a multidisciplinary team.
A new funding formula, underpinned by additional investment and a guarantee no GP partner will earn less than £80,430 are all part of the deal, which Dr Buist helped develop.
Changes are being phased in over a three-year period, which began in April. It is hoped the reforms will address the country’s declining GP workforce, which has shrunk 4% in the past five years, leaving around a quarter of practices reporting a vacancy in 2017.
Dr Buist says the new contract is ‘a real chance for us in Scotland to turn around the recruitment and retention crisis by making general practice more attractive for partnership, reducing workload, reducing business risk and stabilising income’. And having now been elected chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, he will be well placed to make this happen.
He is pragmatic about the challenge, but also believes other parts of the UK could benefit.
‘It will take time. It could be a model to help the other three nations,’ he says.
The Perthshire GP is also aware that some parts of the profession are not as pleased with the new contract as others.
Earlier this year a group of GPs from rural and deprived practices in Scotland wrote an open letter to the BMA saying they planned to resign their membership because the union had failed to represent their interests in the new contract.
Dr Buist acknowledges there has been ‘a bit of unhappiness from some parts of rural practice so we have some work to do to ensure the contract works for them too’.
Why influential: Ensuring major contract reforms are plain sailing
What others say: ‘Inspirational leader as part of the Scottish GP contract negotiating team’
Random fact: His favourite music is hard rock, especially the Aussie band AC/DC.