Practices in Scotland face extended hours

Practices in Scotland face having to open extended hours under new proposals by the SNP.

Dr Dean Marshall

The Action Plan for Health and Wellbeing sets out a number of proposed changes to primary care over the next three years.

The Scottish Executive Health Department will discuss an enhanced service to extend opening hours in the evening or at weekends with BMA Scotland.

Treatment for minor ailments and sexual health screening will be offered by walk-in clinics in pharmacies, and prescription charges will be completely abolished by April 2011.

The plan also aims to direct resources at the most disadvantaged areas to address health inequalities in Scotland.

This will include looking at specific areas of the GP contract that do not meet the needs of people in deprived areas, the report says.

BMA Scotland said it was pleased the Scottish government was committed to developing evidence to support any proposals to extending access to primary care.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the Scottish GPC, said: ‘BMA Scotland has always maintained that if evidence exists to demonstrate that extending opening hours would improve the care we deliver, then we would be happy to discuss this.

‘As yet, we are not aware that this is the case. We are keen to ensure that any changes to the existing hours represent the best use of scarce resources.’

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