The BMA’s Scottish GP committee announced today [Monday 13 November] that its negotiations with the Scottish government have concluded, and agreement has been reached on a proposed new contract for general practice in Scotland. GPs and GP trainees will be given the opportunity to have their say on the contract in a poll to take place in December.
The historic agreement aims to reduce workload pressures and re-establish general practice as an attractive career choice. It provides for an expanded multi-disciplinary team to work with GP practices to provide direct access to services for patients, allowing GPs to concentrate on being expert medical generalists. The contract also makes provision for the transfer of some additional services, such as responsibility for delivering vaccinations, to health boards, without loss of funding.
In addition, the contract includes:
• A change to the funding formula and additional resources, so that practices with higher workloads are given more support but the income of every practice is protected
• Funding to significantly reduce the risks to GP partners from providing their own premises making it easier to attract new partners
• The groundwork for guaranteed GP income and direct reimbursement of expenses in the future.
Commenting on the proposed contract, Dr Alan McDevitt, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee said:
“Our aim in these negotiations has been to make general practice sustainable for the future. It was clear that significant change was required to address the increasing workload pressures that colleagues were facing.
“Practices have been struggling to recruit to vacant positions and we have started to see this impact on patient care, with some practices closing their patient lists, handing back responsibility to the health board or in extreme cases having to close altogether.
“This contract offers solutions to the pressures faced by general practice. By expanding the primary care team and working with integration authorities to improve patient access to services delivered by other professionals, such as, practice nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists, GPs can have more time to concentrate on being GPs.
“The additional funding attached to this contract is a significant investment and demonstrates the value placed on the role of general practice in the NHS in Scotland. The new contract offers income stability and reduced business risk to individuals.
“I hope that GPs across Scotland agree that this contract will make general practice fit for the future. We will be holding a poll of all GPs in Scotland from 7 December and I would encourage every GP in Scotland to take part and have their say.”
The contract will be the subject of a special meeting of the Scottish LMC Conference, which will be held on Friday 1 December in Clydebank.
The proposed contract, along with a Memorandum of Understanding and the Premises Code of Practice can be accessed here.
The poll will open on 7 December and will close on 4 January 2018. All GPs and GP trainees in Scotland will be entitled to take part. The outcome of the poll will be discussed at the meeting of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee on 18 January 2018, where a decision will be taken on whether to accept the new contract.
A series of roadshows is planned for the coming weeks to allow GPs to have their say on the proposals.
The conference on 1 December will be open to journalists to attend. Further details will be sent out in a call notice next week.
Further information, including FAQs, roadshow dates and information on the poll can be found on the contract webpage.