BMA wants GP contract plan for Scotland by next month

GPC Scotland chairman Dr Alan McDevitt hopes to negotiate a GP contract deal for Scotland by early December, but has admitted negotiations are proving difficult.

GPC Scotland has been in contract talks with the Scottish government for two weeks. Scotland's health secretary Alex Neil invited GP leaders to take part in talks on a 'Scottish agreement' after rejecting contract changes the Westminster government plans to impose as 'a threat to the NHS'.

GPC Scotland has said the deal will not split Scotland away from the UK GP contract, but will allow changes to be agreed rather than imposed as looks likely in England.

Dr McDevitt told GP he wants to get close to an agreement by 5 December, so that he can take the offer to a special meeting of the Scottish GPC on that date to ask for a mandate to keep negotiating or to accept the deal.

The GPC Scotland chairman warned that contract changes the UK government plans to impose, including overhauling the QOF and axing MPIG over seven years could leave some Scottish practices unable to survive.

Asked how the talks were progressing, Dr McDevitt said: 'I think "difficult" is as much as I can say at this time. You can’t underestimate the complexity of what we are trying to take on in a very short space of time.

‘Obviously the UK negotiations went so far and what we are now saying is can the Scottish government finish off that negotiation. It is more difficult and complicated than I had hoped for.

‘The Scottish government effectively wasn’t negotiating to the level of detail we did with NHS Employers. They had a different role then and now they have taken on this role of negotiating. Their team has just recently increased to try to deal with this so it is a logistical challenge and an intellectual challenge as well.’

Dr McDevitt added that GPC Scotland and the Scottish government has agreed to try to conclude a deal by early December. 'We didn’t want this to go on interminably. We are not saying we are going to do a vast renegotiation of the contract, we are just trying to get an agreement this year.'

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