LMC representatives from across Scotland met in Clydebank, near Glasgow, on Friday for a special conference to debate whether to accept the proposed deal drawn up by the BMA and the Scottish government. GPs across Scotland will vote on whether to accept the deal in a BMA ballot from 7 December.
GPonline reported last month that the revamped contract aimed to tackle rising workload, increase use of multidisciplinary teams, strip away premises risk from GP partners and guarantee a minimum income of just over £80,000 per GP partner - a figure that one in five GPs in Scotland currently do not reach.
The deal will also bring a change to the contract funding formula intended to support practices facing higher workload. Rural GPs have spoken out strongly against the formula change ahead of the special LMCs conference, warning it could lead to their extinction by leaving them dependent on top-up funding that may not be guaranteed in the long term.
But GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt - who has been leading the process of drawing up a new GP contract for Scotland for several years with the Scottish National Party government - told the conference that the proposed deal is 'a contract for the whole of general practice in Scotland'.
In an address calling for GPs to back the contract, Dr McDevitt said: 'I am acutely aware of the challenges you have faced, of the workload pressures, the burnout and the stress, and the increasing financial pressures.
'I am constantly impressed at the ability of GPs to rise to these challenges and ensure that patients receive the care that they need.
'But there is no doubt that general practice must adapt. We have to find new ways of working and I believe that this contract sets us in a new direction, whilst retaining the key characteristics that we value, such as the independent contractor status and autonomy to deliver services which are appropriate for our communities.'
Dr McDevitt said: 'This is a contract for the whole of general practice in Scotland. It offers solutions and it provides much needed additional resources. It will give us more time with our patients and will make sure that they have access to a wide range of services more quickly and more locally.
'I am confident that this contract will deliver a brighter and more sustainable future for GPs and for patients.'