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Scottish GPs to access NHS-run ‘treatment rooms’ for procedural tasks

GPs in Scotland will have access to prescribing and treatment room services and a chronic disease monitoring team to reduce their workload under plans being drawn up as part of the new contract.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt told Pulse that the NHS would be taking over the responsibility for the staff employed in the new services with GPs having an ‘explicit role’ as senior clinical leader.

He likened it to some current district nursing teams with staff working in the practice but GPs not being responsible for issues such as sick leave or maternity cover.

It would mean many jobs currently done by GPs – including repeat prescribing, drug monitoring, routine diabetic checks and other annual reviews once part of QOF – would be done by another health professional.

The treatment room service would carry out any blood tests, dressing changes or procedural tasks requested by either secondary care or the GP themselves.

Dr McDevitt said the new way of working would free GPs to focus on complex patients, making diagnoses, and improving patient outcomes.

‘We are quite clear there are three main tasks GPs will be funded for under the contract,’ he said.

‘The first is undifferentiated illness for people who are sick but can’t see another professional or anything where there isn’t a diagnosis or a clear cause where the GP can use their expert medical generalist skills.

‘The second thing is complex care – people who have a lot wrong with them so people who have more than one thing wrong with them and they are complicated because they have multimorbidity.

‘And the third role of the GP is to be the senior clinical leader with responsibility to improve patient outcomes.’

Dr McDevitt said opinions on what exactly GPs should be doing ‘vary enormously’ among the profession and he stressed the GP would remain in control of who comes to see them.

‘We want GPs to be able to decide how best to use these services and the other staff available to them. If the GP wants to do it all themselves, they can.’

Full details of the new contract including funding arrangements are expected in November with GPs being polled on the changes after a special LMC conference in Glasgow on 1 December.