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BMA: New Scottish GP contract will make profession attractive again



Exclusive The new Scottish GP contract will be an ‘ambitious departure’ from the rest of the UK, the BMA has told Pulse.

Scottish GP Committee chair Dr Alan McDevitt, who is also due to speak at the Pulse Live conference in Glasgow tomorrow morning, said he was confident that the proposals would offer stability and make the profession attractive to young doctors.

Full details of the contract are due to be announced in the next couple of weeks but one of the proposals to be presented to GPs over the next month is direct reimbursement of practice expenses to level the playing field, Dr McDevitt told Pulse.

The extent of the changes that are being proposed will mean GPs will have to carefully consider the offer ahead of a poll of the profession after a special LMCs conference on 1 December, he added.

Dr McDevitt told Pulse: ‘If I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t be putting it to the profession. I think it will bring a great deal of long-term stability to practices, particularly financial stability.

‘We’re not unambitious in what we’re prescribing and people will have to think carefully about what it means.’

It comes as a new report from Audit Scotland found that recruitment and retention issues as well as poor morale in general practice was preventing changes needed in healthcare delivery and getting agreement on the new contract would be crucial.

Dr McDevitt said while the four nations in the UK agreed on the problems facing general practice, the approach to solving those issues would be very different and that Scotland had led the way in making fundamental changes including scrapping the QOF.

‘It is a new way of thinking and we see this as a comprehensive solution to the problems facing general practice.’

Among the detail announced so far includes a wider healthcare team taking over some jobs traditionally done by the GP, including some chronic disease management, routine checks, and drug monitoring.

GPs will have access to NHS-run services including prescribing and treatment room services to reduce their workload.

The proposed new contract has been designed to free GPs to focus on complex patients, making diagnoses, and improving patient outcomes, Dr McDevitt said.

Scottish ministers have promised £500m for primary care by 2020 – £250m directly for general practice recurring from 2021 – and a new contract is being negotiated in which pharmacists, nurses and other primary care professionals take on a greater role to reduce pressure on GPs.

The RCGP wants to see greater clarity on funding calling for general practice to receive 11% of the NHS budget.