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Scottish GPs to receive 1.9% boost in funding

General practice in Scotland will receive a 1.9% boost in funding next year, the Scottish Parliament has confirmed.

The increase will come as the QOF is abolished for all GP practices in Scotland from April 2016, with all associated payments moving into core funding.

GP practices will also be expected to form clusters by April 2016 which should be ready to take on an ’oversight’ role of all local health and social care services by April 2017.

The deal between the BMA and Scottish Government comes despite Scottish practices currently working to a three-year contract in anticipation of a full replacement to the current UK GMS contract from 2017.

However, the BMA say that this initial agreement was ’with the proviso that changes judged to be beneficial would be open to negotiation’.

The deal will also see GP practices ‘transition’ into their new role overseeing health and social care quality locally, the parties said.

Key points of the deal listed on the BMA’s website included:

  • GPs and their practice staff will be expected to provide all of the elements of care and clinical coding, that the practice considers clinically appropriate and are encouraged to consider how they will continue to deliver an appropriate standard of care for their patients;
  • QOF data will no longer be extracted for payment purposes but it will continue to be available to practices for their own internal processes;
  • Practices will still be required to maintain disease registers and code patients based on diagnosis;
  • From 2017 onwards it is expected that GP practices and GP clusters will have oversight and direct involvement in improving the quality of all health and social care services provided to patients registered within their locality.

The Scottish Government has also announced it will invest an additional £250m in transforming health and social care, as it outlined its draft budget for 2016/17 last week.

The Scottish Government said this was part of an extra £500m going to health boards, making ‘a record total of just under £13 billion for health spending’.

Documents published by the Scottish parliament show that this will equate to a 1.9% increase in funding for general practice.

Scottish health minister Shona Robison said the contractual agreement marked ’a significant shift towards placing more trust in the clinical judgement and professionalism of GPs’.

She said ’new ways of working to ensure our GP and primary care systems are fit for the future’ and that is ’why we are working on a brand new contract for Scottish GPs from 2017, and will be the first in the UK to abolish QOF from April’.

She added: ’While over the years QOF has delivered many innovations, its time has passed and we must now look to a new and different future for GPs.

’This important change to the payments system will mean GPs can spend less time on paperwork, and get on with the job of treating patients who need them most.’

The BMA said: ’This agreement, which includes the end of QOF, the creation of GP clusters and the beginnings of new arrangements for quality demonstrate the direction of travel for the Scottish GP contract.’