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Final voting push on proposed Scottish GP contract

GPs in Scotland have just one more day to vote on whether to accept the new Scottish contract.

The poll on the proposals, which include measures to reduce workload and protect partners from risk, will close on Thursday.

Scottish BMA GP Committee members will discuss the results at a meeting on the 18 January where they will decide whether or not to move ahead with the plans.

The ambitious contract, which would set Scottish GPs on a different path to the rest of the UK, would see 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.

It also includes the transfer of responsibility of some services, including vaccination to health boards without loss of funding.

BMA figures suggest almost two-thirds of practices would see overall funding increase under a new funding formula.

The proposals also include a minimum earnings expectation to ensure no GP partner earns less than £80,430.

But some GPs, especially those in rural areas, have been outspoken about their opposition to the contract.

The Rural GP Association of Scotland has said its members were concerned that rural issues were not being addressed.

And a heat map showing how additional funding would be allocated showed a clear urban rural divide, it said.

Fears have also been raised that the contract moves general practice towards being a salaried service.

Yet others have said the contract offers a real opportunity for general practice and at a special LMC meeting in Glasgow in December the majority of representatives agreed that the proposals addressed the key issues of sustainable funding, reduced risk, attractiveness of the profession and reduced workload.

An early Pulse poll suggested the results could be tight with respondents divided down the middle.

The BMA had run a series of roadshows throughout December to address questions and concerns over the plans.

Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said the proposed contract was a ‘significant step forward for the whole of general practice in Scotland’.

‘Like any major change, there has been a lot of healthy debate and discussion as we have engaged with GPs across the length and breadth of Scotland to explain what these proposals would mean for them.

‘As the poll comes to a close, I am looking forward to hearing the feedback of the profession and their view of whether the contract should be implemented.’