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Budget sets aside £7.5m for GP ‘cluster’ working

The Scottish Government has announced £7.5m to support GP practices working closer together in ‘GP clusters’.

It said clustering would help GP practices collaborate within their local area on quality improvement, share resources and develop community health services. The money aims to ensure every practice has time to participate in clusters. 

There will also be financial support for National Services Scotland and Healthcare Improvement Scotland to help GP practices formally establish these partnerships.

Clusters were set up as part of QOF being dismantled in Scotland, and there are currently 142 declared clusters.

The news comes as Scottish MSPs are set to approve their final budget, which commits a £72m investment into primary care and GP services, contributing to the £500m to be invested in primary care by the end of the Parliament.

Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said when the draft budget was announced that this was a ‘small step’ towards addressing the problems facing general practice in Scotland.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: ‘The additional funding announced today to support GPs is exactly the sort of new ways of working which we want to encourage in our NHS. Working together, across practice boundaries, will allow local GPs to better manage their collective resources and provide services that are tailored to their local population.

‘This innovation within our health service, coupled with record levels of funding and a commitment to invest in primary and community care, will ensure our NHS continues to be one of the best-performing across the UK.’