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Scottish minister announces review of GP access

GPs face a review of the access they provide to patients as part of a move towards ‘modernising’ primary care, said the Scottish health secretary today.

Alex Neil promised a £1m investment to trial ‘new models’ of primary care in Scotland and to set up a review to address problems with access to GPs.

Mr Neil pledged to work with the BMA to review GP access and develop an ‘action plan’ to address any issues that arise from the review.

He said it was the ‘first stage’ of ‘reducing bureaucracy and paperwork for Scottish GPs’ and ‘improving access for patients’.

Mr Neil said: ‘We know that getting appointments can be an issue and we know that the 48-hour access target can cause problems. We have a great opportunity at this time to make things better for Scotland.

‘I am today asking my officials to work with the British Medical Association (BMA) to review access across all GP practices in Scotland and to develop an action plan to address any issues that arise from the review.

‘I am also announcing today an initial tranche of £1 million to support a primary care programme which will work with health boards across Scotland to trial new models of care.’

‘But this is just the first stage. GPs should get the time to do what they really want to do – which is work with individuals to ensure that their medical care is right for them, for their family and carers, and for their local environment.’

‘To do this we intend to modernise the GP contract, and to transform our approach to primary care.’

The move further increases the split between the GP contract in England and Scotland and builds on existing initiatives like the ‘Deep End’ practices which deal with health inequalities, and NHS Highland’s work to test models of delivering rural healthcare.