Scotland bids to 'repatriate' majority of UK GP contract

The Scottish government will push for separate negotiation of most of the GP contract, just weeks after GP leaders warned the UK contract was heading for collapse.

Ms Sturgeon: 'The NHS reforms in England are a threat to the contract's ability to ensure Scottish patients receive quality care.'
Ms Sturgeon: 'The NHS reforms in England are a threat to the contract's ability to ensure Scottish patients receive quality care.'

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon will put forward plans this week to take control of GP contract negotiations in the country, saying the NHS reforms in England are a 'threat' to quality care in Scotland.

The proposal could see as much as three quarters of the GP contract in Scotland focused on 'public health priorities' in the country.

It comes less than two weeks after the four national GPC leaders said the UK-wide GP contract was heading for collapse in three to five years as NHS reforms create a 'gulf' between England and the other UK nations.

Now, in a further blow to maintaining a UK-wide contract, Ms Sturgeon said it was no longer 'appropriate' that the contract was nationally negotiated, blaming the NHS reforms in England.

She said: 'The NHS reforms in England - which we have no intention of emulating - are a threat to the contract's ability to ensure Scottish patients receive quality care.

'I believe that we should protect the founding principles of the national health service. I do not think we should stand by and allow a vital part of our NHS system to be governed by a contract increasingly tailored to suit a market driven model we do not share.'

She said a contract focused on Scottish priorities would 'allow our GPs to play an even more central role in helping to tackle Scotland's health inequalities'.

The government's intention is not to restructure the contract but to 'repatriate' aspects of the negotiation, said Ms Sturgeon.

The Scottish government will discuss the move with the BMA over the coming months.

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