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Scottish Government announces £100m investment into new GP contract

The Scottish Government has announced plans to invest £100m next year to implement the proposed new contract for GPs in Scotland.

Shona Robison, health secretary for Scotland, made the announcement today at a special BMA conference, held to discuss the new contract, which has so far divided opinion among Scotland’s GPs.

Ms Robison also committed to adding 800 GPs to the workforce over the next ten years, the health secretary for Scotland has announced.

Further details on how the GPs will be recruited will be in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming primary care workforce plan.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of BMA Scotland’s GP Committee called the plans ‘a sensible and realistic target for the years ahead’.

He added: ‘Together with the wider measures in the proposed contract to make general practice a more attractive career, I believe that this can have a significant impact on improving GP recruitment and retention.’

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In her speech the health secretary also announced a £7.5m investment in 2018/19 to recruit and retain GPs, particularly in rural areas.

This will include ‘golden hello’ payments of £10,000 to GPs taking up their first post in a rural practice and relocation packages of up to £5,000.

Health secretary Shona Robison said the funding ‘should have a real impact going forward’.

She said: ‘The new GP contract, a historic joint agreement between the Scottish Government and the BMA, will ensure that GPs are able to spend more time with patients and less time on bureaucracy. If accepted, it will help cut doctors’ overall workload and make general practice an even more attractive career prospect.

‘However we want to go further. As multi-disciplinary teams are developed further within GP practices, our ambition is to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over ten years to ensure a sustainable service for the future.’

The new contract proposed that GPs would be working as the head of a multi-disciplinary team to provide direct access to services for patients, allowing GPs to concentrate on being expert medical generalists.