A report released to coincide with Rural Health Week this week found that the new GMS contract has ‘significant potential to improve healthcare for rural patients and to improve working conditions for rural GPs’.
But it adds ‘there are certain clear issues where rural GPs are less able to take advantage of opportunities available’, singling out enhanced services. It adds that the unavailability of broadband internet in some rural areas is also leaving them behind.
The report concludes: ‘There are real concerns over funding restraints, which may actually mean services are withdrawn from rural communities.’
The authors called for more research into how PCTs can ‘rural-proof’ services.
GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: ‘It’s important that further research is carried out to identify the impact of the contract on rural communities and the GPs who serve them.’
He welcomed the conclusion that the contract had potential to help rural GPs.