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Scottish Government invests £5m to increase undergraduate training in primary care

The Scottish Government has announced an additional £5m in funding to enable more medical students to train in a primary care setting.

It comes after the release of a report, which called on the Government to implement a series of recommendations including increasing the level of funding for undergraduate medical education. 

The new funding will double the tariff paid to GP practices for teaching – from £40 to £85 per session – in a bid to encourage more surgeries to get involved. 

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: ‘I am grateful to Professor Gillies and the Review Group for this report and fully endorse its recommendations. It is only right that GP practices are properly funded for covering the cost of teaching medical students.

‘Implementing the recommendations from this report is part of a range of actions we are taking to ensure we deliver the GP workforce we need. We will have increased medical school places by 190 in total by 2021 –­ a rise of 22% from 2016 levels.’

She added: ‘In addition, we are widening access opportunities to study medicine in Scotland ensuring that more medical school places are offered to Scottish students so they have the opportunity to pursue a career here.’

RCGP Scotland chair Dr Carey Lunan said: ‘It is essential that the Scottish Government does all it can to expand the GP workforce to manage the rising volume and complexity of their workload. This announcement will go some way towards achieving that.

‘We know that increased undergraduate exposure to general practice through high-quality placements is a key factor in influencing the career choice of medical students, so we are pleased to see that the Government has announced that an additional £5 million will be spent on GP education funding.’

She continued:  ‘An increase in the tariff paid to GP practices towards the costs of teaching undergraduates will bring us more in line with the resource offered to hospitals to deliver medical student teaching and will enable more GP practices to be able to become involved with growing our future workforce.’

Official figures show that more than eight in 10 GP training posts have been filled in Scotland this year

Last year, the Scottish Government announced 85 extra medical school places to increase the number of GPs in the next decade.