Scottish government backs GP collaboration with £7.5m fund

GPs in Scotland will be encouraged to collaborate with a £7.5m fund to support the development of general practice 'clusters' that could pool funding and work on shared targets.

The Scottish government announced the plan to fund GP clusters ahead of a Scottish parliament vote on budget plans.

Draft budget plans announced in late 2016 were hailed as a 'small but significant step' towards fairer GP funding, with GP leaders welcoming a pledge to reverse a decade-long decline in GP funding.

The Scottish government says its budget will deliver record NHS investment, with a £327m rise in funding for NHS boards and a £500m boost for primary care by 2021.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay said the funding would boost capacity to deliver healthcare outside hospitals. 'Record levels of investment in our NHS will ensure we continue to keep pace with rising demand, as well as providing the resources to continue to transform the way health and social care services are delivered,' he said.

GP funding

"The additional funding announced today to support GPs is exactly the sort of new ways of working which we want to encourage in our NHS. Working together, across practice boundaries, will allow local GPs to better manage their collective resources and provide services that are tailored to their local population.

"This innovation within our health service, coupled with record levels of funding and a commitment to invest in primary and community care, will ensure our NHS continues to be one of the best-performing across the UK.'

Dr Gregor Smith, deputy chief medical officer for Scotland, said: 'We’re very fortunate in this country to have the quality of general practice and primary care services that we do have.

'It is important that this framework supports their professionalism and ambition to continually improve and that is why it is so pleasing it was developed collaboratively, with Scottish government, BMA Scotland, the RCGP and Scotland’s health boards working together to further improve care.'

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