This site is intended for health professionals only

Scottish Parliament launches public survey on the GP independent contractor model

Members of the public in Scotland are being asked whether they think the independent contractor model of general practice is the best way to provide services, as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the future of NHS primary care.

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee launched the survey to kick off a ‘nationwide debate’ on what primary care should look like and how it should be delivered.

On top of a range of questions covering use of technology, access, and use of the wider primary care team, patients are being asked if they know that most GPs are self-employed and run their own practices.

The survey then asks whether patients think this model works for them, their families, and for the NHS.

The inquiry also seeks views from the public on whether they are happy to see other members of the GP practice team including pharmacists, nurses and physiotherapists and what factors are most important to them in terms of access.

Patients responding to the survey, which closes at the end of April, will also be asked whether they would be happy to have video consultations and use wearable devices such as blood pressure monitors which send information back to the GP.

It is the first stage of an inquiry, which later in the year will hear oral and written evidence in answer to the public responses.

Health and Sport Committee convener Lewis Macdonald MSP said: ‘Undoubtedly, there is a need for the delivery of primary care to adapt and the Committee feels that this is the right time to take a comprehensive look at services in the primary care setting.

‘At this important juncture for the next generation of care, the Committee wants to engage a nationwide debate into what that care should look like and how it should be accessed and delivered.’

BMA Scotland GP Committee chair Dr Andrew Buist said it is vital the public is involved in decisions on what primary care looks like in the future.

He said: ‘At the BMA we have set a new course for the GP profession through the new contract that has been in place since April.

‘We firmly believe the contract and these multi-disciplinary teams working together to deliver the care that most effectively meets the needs of the patient is the foundation on which we must build the future of primary care.’

RCGP Scotland chair Dr Carey Lunan said she is pleased to see the launch of the inquiry.

She said: ‘We need a conversation with the public about what matters to them when they access services through the GP practice.

‘We know from an annual survey of our members that many patients are confused about the changes that are happening in primary care, so this inquiry is very important and welcome.’