New contract comes into force with aim to ‘restore hope’ for Scotland’s GPs

A new GP contract aimed at cutting the workload of family doctors comes into force today.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which drew up the contract with the Scottish Government, said it would “restore hope” to the profession.

The new contract, backed with £100 million of Scottish Government funding in its first year, aims to simultaneously reduce the workload family doctors face and create a minimum earning expectation of just over £80,000 a year.

Ministers will also provide additional funding to help GPs with the risks that come with owning or leasing their own premises.

The contract, signed in January after a poll of doctors found 71.5% were in favour, was drawn up in a bid to refocus the role of family doctors as “expert medical generalists”.

The Scottish Government said the contract will mean more practice nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists working in general practice in the next three years as patients are given direct access to these services, freeing up more consultation time for GPs.

It is setting up a new short life working group, chaired by Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie, to ensure the contract works well for rural and remote parts of the country.

Dr Alan McDevitt (pictured), the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee chairman said: “I truly believe that this contract offers something to GP practices in every part of Scotland. It will help to reduce the pressures of GP workload and improve GP recruitment and retention.

“The agreement to implement the new GP contract was a landmark decision for general practice in Scotland that will help to restore hope to the profession and encourage more doctors to choose careers as GPs.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “This new contract will mean those who need to see a doctor get more time for consultation and that other patients get better access to specialist support quickly.

“It will also help to cut doctors’ workload, ensure a minimum income guarantee for GPs and make general practice an even more attractive career, which will contribute to our commitment to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over 10 years to ensure a sustainable service that meets increasing demand.

“Our commitment to invest £7.5 million to support GP recruitment and retention, including £850,000 in increased support to expand the remote and rural incentive scheme and relocation funds, will have a positive impact for rural GPs.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Andrew Milligan / PA Wire.