Scotland trials new GP models in radical primary care overhaul

GPs will take on expanded roles across primary and secondary care while practices work together to offer faster appointments and link up with community services in a primary care overhaul being trialled in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon: GP services face shake-up
Nicola Sturgeon: GP services face shake-up

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the role of general practice in the NHS was 'set for a significant shakeup'.

GP leaders in Scotland backed the overhaul, warning that existing general practice services were 'extremely stretched' and urgent reform was vital.

As part of plans for 10 health centres to form 'community care teams' over the next two years, practices will trial new ways of working.

Some practices will work together to speed up access to appointments, GPs will operate in multidisciplinary teams with staff including physiotherapists and local centres will provide treatment currently only available in hospital - including short-stay inpatient beds.

GP training overhaul

At two of the pilot health centres, 'a new type of doctor' will lead a multidisciplinary team, with some GPs offered a year's training to take on the posts, working 'across primary and acute care'.

Scottish GPC chairman Dr Alan McDevitt said: 'General practice in Scotland is facing significant problems in recruiting and retaining enough doctors, with the knock-on effect that services in some areas are becoming severely stretched. There are not enough GPs to deal with the current workload in primary care, and it is vital that we start to address this problem.

'BMA Scotland is clear that GPs are the right kind of doctor to deliver healthcare in the community.

'A new model of primary care that refocuses GPs as the expert medical generalists in a wider practice-based primary care team is something BMA Scotland has been seeking for some time and we are actively working with the Scottish government to make this a reality.'

Ms Sturgeon said: 'We have already taken steps to integrate health and social care and now transforming our GP services and local health centres is the next step. That means you will see the professional who can best help you and, in some cases, your local GP will soon offer the type of treatments that previously only hospitals could deliver.

'This is good for patients and good for the NHS – GPs in particular will see their role develop in a significant way.'

Photo: Douglas Robertson

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