Encouraging signs Scottish government willing to listen to GPs

Signs are encouraging that the Scottish government is willing to listen, according to the New Year message of the BMA Scotland chairman.

Dr Brian Keighley: 'Ministers entered into negotiations with Scottish GP leaders to avoid the contract imposition.'
Dr Brian Keighley: 'Ministers entered into negotiations with Scottish GP leaders to avoid the contract imposition.'

Dr Brian Keighley, BMA Scotland chairman, said: 'This has been a really challenging year for the medical profession. Doctors' decision to even consider taking industrial action, up to and including a strike, reflects badly on any government. Scottish ministers must recognise that the dispute over pensions has severely damaged trust amongst the medical profession.

'Continued attacks on doctors' terms and conditions have had a serious impact on workforce morale as doctors face a further year of pay freezes, increases to their pension contributions at the same time as meeting rising demand for services with a shrinking workforce.

'There is only so much goodwill in the profession and at the moment it is severely strained. If Scottish ministers wish to continue the journey towards a quality NHS, responsive to patients' needs, they will soon have to re-engage with the medical profession it has treated so badly in 2012.

'However, there are some encouraging signs that the Scottish government is willing to listen. Ministers entered into negotiations with Scottish GP leaders to avoid the contract imposition being threatened elsewhere in the UK and have now agreed changes to the GP contract that recognise both the needs of patients and the need to manage workload in general practice.'

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