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Scottish Government in talks over rural GPs’ concern with new contract

The Scottish Government is in talks over the effect of the new contract on rural GPs, after criticism from rural GPs.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Jeanne Freeman, the health minister, said that they are in talks with the BMA over ‘phase 2’ of the contract to address concerns from rural GPs.

Rural GPs have said that the ‘workload allocation formula’ stipulated in the contract fails to take into account their challenges, and has resulted in them being provided with no extra income.

The Rural GP Association of Scotland has warned that ‘phase 2’ is not guaranteed, and has said that their concerns are not being listened to.

Dr David Hogg, vice-chair of the RGPAS, resigned from a working group set up by the Scottish Government, warning that managers have failed to suggest any ‘pragmatic, realistic proposals to reverse the damaging effects of the new GP contract in rural Scotland’.

In the resignation letter to the Rural Short Life Working Group, Dr Hogg said that there had been no attempt to define ‘additional services’ that are already provided by rural GPs, but which are being threatened by the new contract.

The RGPAS cited a survey of 51 of its members that revealed more than 80% felt the new contract had worsened outcomes for rural GPs.

However, Ms Freeman has said that they are currently in talks over ‘phase 2’.

She told the Scottish Parliament: ‘We are continuing to work with the BMA, which also needs to take account of some of these concerns. In fact, I met the BMA only yesterday to discuss what more we might do in phase 2 of the contract.

‘We are also, as I said to my colleague Gail Ross, taking forward work with Sir Lewis Ritchie to take account of and address those concerns specifically, in addition to the substantive package of comprehensive support.’