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Scottish GPs may not be given a vote on new contract

It is unclear whether GPs in Scotland will be given a vote on the new GP contract being negotiated by the GPC.

The BMA told Pulse that GPs would get to vote on the deal, now set for full implementation from April 2018, ‘if a change to the way that GPs are paid or a significant change in GP income is proposed’.

But Dr Steve McCabe, a member of the BMA Scottish Council and a GP in Portree, Skye, is standing for re-election on the basis that all GPs should be allowed a vote.

He said: ‘If what is being said is true and accurate then it seems to me that what is being proposed represents a radical change to the GP contract in Scotland.

‘It is therefore my view that all GPs in Scotland who are members of the BMA should get the chance to vote on the proposed new contract when it is ready to sign off – regardless of what effects it has on their income or the way in which they are funded.’

He added that ‘a radically different contract which ordinary GPs are being expected to adopt can only be successful if ordinary GPs feel a sense of ownership’.

‘Without a vote on it I find it hard to see how such a sense of ownership can be achieved,’ he said.

Dr Denise McFarlane, Grampian LMC chair, said she she was supportive of the BMA’s current position ‘recognising there have been a series of incremental changes which have been widely welcomed locally’.

She added: ‘Local GPs very much would want to have a vote on any significant changes to their terms and conditions.

‘However, additional support being made available to practices, or measures to reduce workload or bureaucracy, are welcomed without the need for a profession wide ballot.’

GPs who were members of the BMA were allowed to vote on the UK-wide new GMS contract in 2004, the most recent renegotiation of the GP contract.

The new Scottish GP contract, due to be phased in over the coming two years, will spell the end of the 10-minute GP consultation standard, the GPC has previously told Pulse.