GPs in Scotland have struck a deal with the Scottish Government over a new contract and changes to the way they provide care. It follows a breakdown in talks between the Coalition Government and doctors leaders south of the border.
The new deal will see extra care provided for patients who are most at risk of being admitted to hospital.
The Coalition at Westminster halted negotiations at a UK level earlier this year and imposed changes to the UK-wide GMS [GP] Contract. It prompted ministers in Scotland to initiate their own negotiations with medical leaders to agree alternative arrangements north of the border, within the framework of the UK GP contract.
Dr Alan McDevitt, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government has taken the step of negotiating a deal for changes to the GMS contract for 2013/14.
“This approach is very different to that being taken by the UK Government where there is a threat to impose changes that have not been negotiated or agreed with the profession.
“The Scottish agreement has been negotiated within the framework of the UK GP contract framework. It reflects our need to manage workload in general practice and a shared desire to introduce changes that focus on the needs of our patients. The agreement provides much needed stability for general practice funding.”
The GP contract is a separate issue from the dispute over GPs’ pension which is still ongoing and has already resulted in industrial action among doctors.
Health secretary Alex Neil said the deal will bring benefits for patients.
“The way patients are treated in our NHS is changing,” he said.
“GPs will be key to us successfully addressing the challenges we face.
“GPs will now provide extra care for those patients GPs judge to be most at risk of being admitted to hospital. This will improve the quality of care from the patient’s perspective, promote integration of care and reduce both admissions and lengths of stay in hospital.”