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What GPs are saying about the Scottish GP contract vote

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee

I am delighted that the proposed contract that we have worked with the Scottish Government to create will now be implemented.

I truly believe that this contract offers stability and security of funding for practices in Scotland and will help to reduce the pressures of GP workload and improve GP recruitment and retention.

The decision to proceed with implementation of this new contract reflects the high level of support for the contract shown in the poll of the profession and the views fed back through local medical committees.

However, as with any poll there are inevitably those who did not feel able to give their support to the contract.

We have heard the concerns that they have raised with us, particularly around how additional services and health professionals will be provided in rural areas and their concerns about the income and expenses guarantee.

A short life working group tasked with providing solutions so that the contract is delivered in a way that works well for rural areas will be established, which will also look for further ways in which rural general practice can be supported.

This contract offers something to GP practices in every part of Scotland and I hope that young doctors will be encouraged by the direction we are going in to choose a career in general practice.

I am delighted that the profession has backed this contract and we can now move forward to implementing the changes that general practice in Scotland needs.

Dr Carey Lunan, chair of RCGP Scotland

The BMA’s GP poll demonstrates that our profession has voted to accept a new direction of travel for general practice. It is no secret that general practice in Scotland has been facing mounting challenges for some time, compounded by an ever-increasing workload and a reducing workforce.

The launch of the new contract and the polling of the profession has not been without its challenges and many GPs, particularly in remote and rural and in deprived urban practices, have raised concerns about the impact of the proposed changes and how this will affect delivery of patient care in their communities. However, many have also recognised the opportunities that this contract potentially offers to sustain and rebuild the profession that is at crisis point in many areas across the country.

What is of prime importance is the urgent securing of more GPs. We have welcomed the Scottish Government’s aim to supply an extra 800 GPs by 2027 but we are conscious of the coming shortfall of 856 Whole Time Equivalent GPs by 2021. That Whole Time Equivalent gap is of concern, manifesting itself currently through the pressure GP services are under with the resulting strain on patient care.

With the decision of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee to implement the new contract, the work, in many ways, starts now. Over the next three years as the changes contained within this new contract are embedded, RCGP Scotland will seek to work collaboratively with the BMA, Scottish Government and colleagues across primary care to ensure that the views of the profession are heard. We will maintain our focus on building strong inter-professional relationships, and quality care that is both safe and sustainable. We will continue to champion the core values of general practice which make it intrinsic to the sustainability of the NHS in Scotland.

Dr Gregor Smith, deputy chief medical officer for Scotland

This is a momentous day for GPs in Scotland as @BMAScotland agree to implement new Scottish GP contract. This is good for GPs and good for public. Huge majority polled in favour but important to continue to listen to concerns of those who said no.

Dr Iain Kennedy, medical secretary of Highland LMC

In terms of moving forward we will be inviting Dr Alan McDevitt to our next meeting of Highland LMC because we need to move on and see what this means for our practices. There will be a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. 

We do need open and transparent conversations to continue to enable rural practices to flourish and we have particular concerns about recruitment and retention and sustainability payments.

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