10 mc devitt alan power50 2017 10
GPs in England and Northern Ireland must look at Scotland and wonder if there is something in the water.
The relationship between the profession and the government could not be more friendly, but this year we will find out whether all this schmoozing will benefit GPs on the ground. This November, the new contract – which will overhaul general practice – is set to be announced, for full implementation from April 2018.
The signs are positive so far. Over the past year, Dr McDevitt has secured a commitment from the Scottish Government to invest £250m recurrently ‘in direct support of GMS’.
The QOF has already been scrapped, and practices are likely to also stop carrying out childhood and travel vaccinations and other additional services in order to focus on core work and provide longer consultations for more complex patients.
GPs will work alongside multidisciplinary teams including pharmacists, nurses and other primary care professionals that will be employed by NHS and even GP premises may – in time – become owned centrally.
Dr McDevitt’s efforts have struck a chord with GPs. As one puts it, he is a ‘visionary leader showing willingness to set out a different approach’.
It’s not all been Tunnock’s teacakes and whisky in Scotland, however. Dr McDevitt has had to contend with a situation where 52 practices are being run by health boards and one in four practices having at least one GP vacancy, with 73% of unfilled jobs being empty for six months or longer.
But even on this, Scotland is showing itself to be progressive. Dr McDevitt and the Scottish Government are developing national guidance to make it easier for GPs to hand back contracts to health boards when they get into difficulty and avoid ‘last man standing’ partnership issues.
The leader forging a new GP contract in Scotland
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