Full details of the new Scottish GP contract, including funding arrangements, are likely to be released to the profession in early November after negotiators confirmed they were making ‘good progress’.
GPC Scotland is currently having weekly meetings with the Scottish Government to get an agreement ready for discussion at a series of roadshows.
The BMA’s negotiating team will be answering questions about the proposed new contract at 15 meetings to be held across Scotland throughout November and a webcast for those who can’t attend in person.
All GPs in Scotland will be polled on whether to accept the new contract after the LMC conference in Glasgow on 1 December.
A final decision on whether it will be implemented will be made by the Scottish GPC in January 2018, the BMA has confirmed ahead of roll out from April.
GPs in Scotland are being stretched to the limit amidst an ongoing recruitment and retention crisis.
Record numbers of practices are handing back contracts with many others closing or restricting lists.
The Scottish Government has promised £500m for primary care by 2020 – £250m directly for general practice – and the new contract will involve pharmacists, nurses and other primary care professionals taking on a greater role as part of a primary health care team to reduce pressure on GPs.
GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said he believed the reasons for implementing a new contract in Scotland are ‘compelling’.
The contract will address include reducing the financial risk faced by GP partners, reducing the workload burden, and setting out a secure and stable income for GPs, he said.
‘Addressing the difficulties faced by general practice requires significant change to the structure of the GP contract and the role and responsibilities of GPs,’ he said.
‘The aim of our negotiations is to make general practice sustainable for the future and make becoming a GP an attractive career choice.
‘We want to build and support wider practice based primary care teams to ensure that patients have access to a range of services and professionals, allowing GPs to focus their time on those patients with undiagnosed problems and the most complex care needs.’
Proposed timeline of new Scottish contract
October 2017 – GPC continuing to have weekly meetings to work up agreement on new contract
November 2017 – GPC to hold 15 roadshows across Scotland on the new contract
1 December 2017 – LMCs to hold special conference to vote on the new contract
December 2017 – All GPs in Scotland to be polled on whether to accept the new contract
January 2018 – GPC meeting to make final decision on whether to roll out new contract
April 2018 – New contract to be implemented