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GPs to get one year training to work across primary and acute care

GPs are to get one year’s training to equip them to work across primary and acute care under new plans announced for Scotland.

Speaking at Holyrood earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that 10 areas will pilot ‘new models of care’ over the next year, including 140 pharmacists being recruited to work in GP practices and GPs, district nurses and health visitors working together teams.

The sites, to some extent reminiscent of England’s ‘vanguards’, will see two pilots of ‘community health hubs’, in which GPs are ‘clinical experts’ overseeing patient treatments whilst working alongside district nurses and health visitors.

The plans, outlined in the Programme for Government 2015/16 is aimed at ensuring GPs’ time is focused more on ‘complex diagnosis’. The Scottish Government is planning to draw on the pilot results to ‘determine the next stage of service reform’ within the new Scottish GP contract which is under negotiation on track for a 2017/18 implementation.

The report said: ‘In the future, GPs must be able to focus on complex diagnosis, organise the management of conditions and drugs as part of multi-disciplinary teams, and tackle the challenges that come with managing more people in the community.’

It added: ‘A unique feature of these hubs is that part of the healthcare team will be a new type of doctors – qualified GPs who will receive an additional year of training to give them the skills to work across primary and acute care.’

Ms Sturgeon said the pilots would be funded by previously announcement investment and cover ‘at least 10 sites across urban and rural’ Scotland.

She said: ‘We will support GPs to work in clusters and develop new ways of working with district nurses, health visitors, rehabilitation teams and health improvement services and using different services such as intermediate care beds.

‘We intend that the good practice learned from this will be implemented across Scotland over the course of the next Parliament – supported by a renegotiated and fit for the future GP contract.’