GP practices get £15m extra to cope with coronavirus

GP practices are to receive £15m to help them cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced £15m more for GP surgeries.

The new Scottish Government funding will allow surgeries to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday to alleviate pressures on out-of-hours services.

It will also help cover the costs of equipment, additional non-clinical staff, GP partners and locum cover for sickness leave – though personal protective equipment (PPE) will be supplied separately at no cost to surgeries.

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Announcing the new money, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman thanked GP practice staff for their “incredible hard work throughout this pandemic.”

She added: “They are doing an invaluable job to keep crucial primary care services going in very challenging circumstances.

“Working with the Scottish GP Committee of BMA Scotland we have agreed a package of additional funding for GP practices to help them meet some of the costs of responding to Covid-19. Part of this will help to cover the cost of remaining open on Good Friday and Easter Monday and the remainder will help to meet other costs being faced by practices during this difficult time.”

Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee Dr Andrew Buist said the request to keep GP practices open over public holidays was not “taken lightly”.

He added: “Practices and out of hours services are working under more pressure than ever during this pandemic and I know GPs across Scotland are willing to put in the extra work required to help the NHS fight this virus.

“Our NHS is changing, and at the forefront of that change is the primary care response. General practice is part of that protective ring around the hospital system that will help us all cope with the surge in demand we are expecting.

“I am extremely proud of how quickly GPs have responded to this challenge with flexibility and ingenuity. There is a huge amount of work being put in from the Scottish Government and across the system and now is the time for us to pull together, for clear thinking and strong leadership.”