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Scottish GP practices will not employ new support staff

Under proposals in Scotland to make greater use of pharmacists, physios and paramedics in primary care, GPs will not be responsible for employing them directly, GPC Scotland has said.

In response to concerns raised at the annual LMC conference in Glasgow, GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said the only staff GPs would employ directly was the core team of receptionist, practice manager, practice nurse and healthcare assistant.

The other professions that will be drafted in to ease the pressure on GP workload will be employed by health boards as part of a ‘service’ provided to practices.

Dr McDevitt said they were still working out the mechanisms by which it would work but it essentially means they practice isn’t responsible for sick cover, etc but would be able to ‘direct their work’.

A workforce plan which is needed to inform the staffing levels required to support general practice is currently out for consultation by the Scottish Government.

It is hoped that details will be published by Spring.

‘We are going to have to look at the flow of staff into the system and some staff are easier to produce than others,’ Dr McDevitt said.

Dr Iain Kennedy, Highlands LMC brought a motion to the LMC conference that GPs should retain the right to directly employ primary health care staff said: ‘The GPs that I know are filled with absolute dread at the thought of trying to line manage more health board employed staff.’

But his motion was lost after Dr McDevitt said there would be no money to fund GPs to hire those staff directly and the GPC would come to the profession with more details on how such staff would be managed once negotiations had been completed.

 Note: The headline of this article was updated at 14.25 10 March to reflect that GPs will continue to employ practice nurses.