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Scottish GPs to get 3% funding boost under new contract

GPs in Scotland will receive an additional £23m as part of the new GP contract, the Scottish Government has confirmed. 

Under the Scottish GP contract for 2019/20, the global sum and expenses will increase by 3.23%, meaning the value of the contract will rise by £23.2m for 2019/20.

It comes as the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) recommended a 2.5% pay award for all doctors in Scotland.  

In a letter sent last week to BMA GP Committee Scotland, Richard Foggo, director of population health and head of primary care, said the Government has agreed to increase the GP contract funding by 3.23%.

He wrote: ‘Having given very careful consideration to the recommendations of the DDRB and the wider position on public sector pay policy including recently announced NHS pay settlement, Scottish ministers have decided to uplift GP pay net of expenses by 2.5%. This will be accompanied by an increase of 3% for practice staff pay (in line with wider agenda for change uplifts) and an uplift of 1.9%, according to the CPI inflation measure, for non-staff expenses.

‘This represents a 3.1% uplift to the global sum and to the income and expenses guarantee which will be paid as a straight increase to all practices with no recycling. In addition there will be a further £4.2m added to the global sum for the cost of population growth in 2018/19. I can therefore confirm that for the financial year of 2019/20 the global sum and income and expenses guarantee will be uplifted by a total of £23.2m. This equates to an increase of 3.23% of the total value of the contract in 2018/19.’

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Scottish GPC deputy chair Patricia Moultrie acknowledged that the pay uplift is a ‘step in the right direction’ but warned more needs to be done in light of years of pay cuts.

She wrote in a blog: ‘Whilst the pay uplift is welcome, it also needs to be viewed in the context that for years doctors have endured real-term cuts to their pay in Scotland – coming at the same time as the job itself gets harder and more demanding, with fewer GPs dealing with excessive workloads due to spiralling demand and covering for growing, and often underreported, vacancies.

‘I know how hard things have been recently for GPs out there in the service, devoting their working lives to caring for people. That’s why there is a still a long way to deliver the aims we set out in the new contract and restore hope to the profession. There is no doubt we still urgently need more GPs in Scotland, and we need better incentives for young doctors to choose this career path.’

She added: ‘This pay uplift is a step in the right direction, but as I said, there is still a long way to go. We have lobbied the government long and hard for a better pay deal, and we do not underestimate the significance of going beyond public sector pay policy for senior doctors, in particular within tight public sector spending constraints.’

Last month, Public spending watchdog Audit Scotland warned that the Scottish Government is now facing a ‘significant challenge’ in recruiting more GPs to the area.