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Scotland could agree separate GP contract deal ‘within 24 hours’

Exclusive: Scotland could be less than 24 hours away from negotiating a separate GP contract, as the Scottish GPC has spent today in a crunch meeting discussing final points to an agreement on the 2013/14 GP contract deal for Scotland only.

SGPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said he is hoping to be able to announce whether a final agreement can be reached between the GPC and the Scottish Government on the contract within the next 24 hours, subject to pushing through some final concessions.

The Scottish GPC, which is on a stronger footing with its local health ministry than its UK counterpart, has been bringing negotiations forward separately since the UK Government first broached the threat to impose changes to the UK GP contract at the end of October.

The UK GPC had previously expressed hope that the UK Government would negotiate to protect a UK-wide deal. But the prospect was looking increasingly unlikely with the UK Government proposing to impose a new contract that the GPC has said will increase GP workload to an unacceptable degree.

It is as yet unclear what the key differences in the Scottish deal would be, as Dr McDevitt has declined to give any details until tomorrow, when a deal could be reached.

Dr McDevitt said: ‘It will probably be tomorrow and we will be able to give quite a lot of detail I hope once things are actually finalised. At the moment I can’t say for definite, I think we have to finalise what we’re saying before we have any agreement. We do not have an agreement until we have finalised some last points, until we get certain concessions. We have been [negotiating with the Scottish Government] continuously for the past week.’

‘What we have been doing [at the SGPC meeting today] was discuss what conditions were necessary to finalise an agreement. I can’t [give details] now but if it is finalised then I will give all information within 24 hours.’

The news comes as the UK GPC is awaiting the Government’s formal Statement of Financial Entitlement and GP leaders in Wales and Northern Ireland have indicated that they are expecting terms to be imposed also in their devolved health economies.