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Health minister to produce report on reducing GP workload

The Scottish health minister has said she is going to report on measures to cut GP workload, with the BMA calling for pharmacists to be given greater prescribing responsibilities.

Speaking at the Scottish LMCs Conference today, Shona Robison said that she was working with the GPC to find solutions to GPs’ workload, for a report to be prepared for the next government.

The Scottish GPC told Pulse it will call for the Government to hand more of GPs’ prescribing responsibilities to pharmacists and introduce measures to ensure hospital doctors write fit notes.

Shona Robison’s announcement also included the commitment to invest £20m into general practice this year.

She added: ‘I have asked my officials to work closely with Scottish GPC to identify workable solutions to your workload pressures.

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‘But there is no magic bullet. It will take time and will depend on us growing the wider primary care workforce with the skills mix and expertise that are needed to deliver the vision.’

Scottish GPC deputy chair Dr Andrew Buist said: ‘Prescribing is a massive issue for workload. GPs spend hours writing prescriptions every month but a lot of that could be done by pharmacists.

‘There has been a problem for pharmacists getting hold of certain drugs, but in these cases they should be empowered to prescribe alternatives by themselves.’

Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘When someone breaks a leg, hospitals are supposed to write fit notes but they don’t do it all the time.

‘If they did do it all the time, that would have an effect on GP workload.’