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Proposed new GP contract will be implemented in Scotland

Poll of the profession showed the majority of Scottish GPs are in favour of the new contract

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 22 January 2018

The proposed new GP contract for Scotland will be implemented, after a poll of the profession found that the majority of GPs were in favour of implementation, BMA’s Scottish GP Committee (SGPC) has announced.

The poll which asked if the contract should be implemented ran from 7 December to 4 January and saw the contract backed by 71.5% of participating GPs, while 28.5% were opposed.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee said: “I truly believe that this contract offers stability and security of funding for practices in Scotland and will help to reduce the pressures of GP workload and improve GP recruitment and retention.”

However, he added: “As with any poll there are inevitably those who did not feel able to give their support to the contract. We have heard the concerns that they have raised with us, particularly around how additional services and health professionals will be provided in rural areas and their concerns about the income and expenses guarantee.

“A short life working group tasked with providing solutions so that the contract is delivered in a way that works well for rural areas will be established, which will also look for further ways in which rural general practice can be supported.

“This contract offers something to GP practices in every part of Scotland and I hope that young doctors will be encouraged by the direction we are going in to choose a career in general practice.”

Dr Carey Lunan, chair of RCGP Scotland, said: "The launch of the new contract and the polling of the profession has not been without its challenges and many GPs, particularly in remote and rural and in deprived urban practices, have raised concerns about the impact of the proposed changes and how this will affect delivery of patient care in their communities. However, many have also recognised the opportunities that this contract potentially offers to sustain and rebuild the profession that is at crisis point in many areas across the country.

"What is of prime importance is the urgent securing of more GPs. We have welcomed the Scottish Government's aim to supply an extra 800 GPs by 2027 but we are conscious of the coming shortfall of 856 Whole Time Equivalent GPs by 2021. That Whole Time Equivalent gap is of concern, manifesting itself currently through the pressure GP services are under with the resulting strain on patient care.”

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