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£20m boost for GP pay and services

Cash package will also provide IT upgrades and improve locum cover

Mark Gould

Monday, 14 March 2016

GPs in Scotland are to receive a £20m package to boost pay, expenses and services. Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said the funding would be used to support GPs in the short term, while negotiations towards putting General Practice on a long-term, sustainable footing continue.

The package includes:

  • £11 million to uplift GP pay by 1 per cent and uplift GP expenses by 1.5 per cent. This also includes funding to cover the costs of population growth in 2015/16
  • £5 million to fund a GP from every practice in Scotland to take part in fortnightly sessions on cluster working - designed to develop their role in quality and leadership in the local health and social care system
  • £2 million additional funding to improve or upgrade IT infrastructure in GP practices
  • £2 million on three specific support measures called for by the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners’ Committee (SGPC): funding a new rate for backfill cover for GPs taking maternity, paternity or adoption leave; developing occupational health services for primary care staff; and supplying every GP practice in Scotland with oxygen cylinders for use in emergencies

Ms Robison also announced that the Scottish Government would begin work immediately, in partnership with the BMA and other key stakeholders, to bring forward recommendations early in the next Parliament on tackling workload pressures and addressing issues with GP premises.

“The Scottish Government has a clear vision for the future of primary care and GP services. It is one that sees patients supported by a team of health professionals in the community, with the GP acting as the clinical lead – overseeing patient care and dealing with the most complex and urgent cases.

“We know that the current model is unsustainable and this new vision for community care is one we have developed in close consultation with the BMA and the wider primary care profession," she said.

Dr Miles Mack, Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland, welcomed the announcement: “This looks like promising news for hard-working GPs and patients across Scotland. It is a small but hopefully significant step in the right direction," he said.

“We are pleased to see an emphasis on the quality of patient care. Similarly, the £2 million for IT infrastructure is desperately needed. The development of an occupational health service for primary care staff will also be warmly welcomed, such is the pressure those at the front line have been facing for so long.

“Members across Scotland can perhaps see the beginnings of some positive action from Scottish Government responding to our manifesto and Put Patients First campaign for funding for general practice.”

The Scottish Government also announced a £50 million investment in radiotherapy services which will be used to buy more state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment and help employ an additional 100 radiotherapy specialists. The investment comes ahead of the launch of the Scottish Government’s Cancer Strategy this week, which will set out more than 50 different actions to help prevent cancer, diagnose people more quickly and deliver even better care and treatment.

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