GP leaders in Scotland have welcomed additional investment of £7.5m to support practices to work together more closely.
The Scottish Government said the funding would help development of GP clusters, which enable practices to share resources and collaborate on quality improvement, and on developing community services across a wider local area.
Specifically, it will ensure that every practice has protected time to participate in the new cluster arrangements.
Scottish Government finance secretary Derek Mackay announced the money ahead of a Scottish Parliament vote on the Scottish Government’s budget proposals.
BMA Scottish GPs committee chair Alan McDevitt said: ‘Clusters are an important way for GPs to work together to share best practice and develop quality services for their patients.
'It is essential that every practice is given protected time to engage locally and we welcome this investment which will help to ensure the success of cluster arrangements.’
Mr Mackay said extra money for GP and primary care services would allow the NHS to build up more services in the community and help ensure that people can be treated in non-hospital settings when appropriate.
He said: ‘The additional funding announced to support GPs is exactly the sort of new ways of working which we want to encourage in our NHS.
'Working together, across practice boundaries, will allow local GPs to better manage their collective resources and provide services that are tailored to their local population.’
The SNP struck a deal with the Scottish Green Party to get the budget passed; the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all opposed it.
Quality and commitment
The Scottish Government Deputy chief medical officer Gregor Smith said: ‘We’re very fortunate in this country to have the quality of general practice and primary care services that we do have. The commitment of my colleagues to people across Scotland is something I understand and appreciate.’
He said it was important that the national framework for quality and GP clusters in Scotland supported GPs’ professionalism and ambition to improve continually.
‘That is why it is so pleasing it was developed collaboratively, with the Scottish Government, BMA Scotland, the Royal College of General Practitioners and Scotland’s health boards working together to further improve care,’ he added.
So far there are 142 GP clusters, with 29 out of 31 intergration joint boards (bodies set up to integrate health and social care) having declared their cluster arrangements.
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