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GPs and staff given free access to occupational health

£920K funding will support access for practice staff in Scotland

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 31 October 2016

GPs and practice staff will be able to access their local health board’s occupational health services free of charge from today in Scotland.

The new scheme is designed to help support the health of GPs and general practice staff and is backed by Scottish Government funding of £920,000, which will be provided on a recurring basis from this year onwards.

Scotland’s health secretary Shona Robison made the commitment to the BMA earlier this year, in recognition of the contribution that primary care staff make to the health service.

NHS Scotland’s occupational health service helps staff with issues including posture, recovering from injuries, back pain, returning to work after illness and workplace assessments.

Employees have access to a range of specialists including occupational health nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, consultants and specialist registrars through the service.

Ms Robison said: “General practice is a highly valued part of our health care system in Scotland, and we must get it back to being the profession of choice for more young doctors. That is one of the reasons why we have announced an additional £500 million of funding for primary care over the next five years.

“As well as increasing funding we have to look after GPs and their practice staff, and ensure that the basics are right. Occupational health is a key part of that.

“This additional funding will mean that our GP practice staff will be able to benefit from more effective occupational health. I acknowledge that working in GP surgeries has its challenges and therefore it’s quite right that these valued members of the NHS family are able to take full advantage of these services.”

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said: “Measures that provide continued support to practices are very welcome and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has committed recurring funding to ensure that all our staff will have free access to the occupational health service.”

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