Green light for new Scottish GP contract as over 70% vote 'yes'

GP practices in Scotland will begin working under a new GMS contract from April after a 'historic' vote saw 71.5% of the profession back the new deal.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt
GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt

BMA leaders and the Scottish government welcomed the result - which health minister Shona Robison said would deliver the biggest reform of GP services in Scotland in more than a decade. The deal will be backed with £100m in funding in 2018/19.

The vote in favour of the deal comes despite warnings from rural GPs that changes to the funding formula under the new contract risked driving them to extinction. The Scottish BMA acknowledged these doctors' concerns, and will set up a 'short life working group' that will look into ways of supporting rural practices as the new deal takes effect.

Read more
 How the new Scottish contract changes GP funding and pay
> How the GP role will change under the new contract
> How the new contract takes away the burden of premises

Ms Robison said: 'GPs are an integral and crucial part of our health service. This new contract, which is a historic joint agreement between the Scottish government and the BMA, will ensure that GPs are able to spend more time with patients and less time on bureaucracy. It will cut doctors’ overall workload and make general practice an even more attractive career prospect.

'We’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with the BMA to develop this contract, and the fact it has the support of the members means I am confident it is the very best deal for GPs right across the country as well as for patients themselves.'

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: 'I am delighted that the proposed contract that we have worked with the Scottish government to create will now be implemented.

'I truly believe that this contract offers stability and security of funding for practices in Scotland and will help to reduce the pressures of GP workload and improve GP recruitment and retention.

'The decision to proceed with implementation of this new contract reflects the high level of support for the contract shown in the poll of the profession and the views fed back through local medical committees.

'However, as with any poll there are inevitably those who did not feel able to give their support. We have heard the concerns that they have raised with us, particularly around how additional services and health professionals will be provided in rural areas and their concerns about the income and expenses guarantee.

'A short life working group tasked with providing solutions so that the contract is delivered in a way that works well for rural areas will be established, which will also look for further ways in which rural general practice can be supported.'

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