The BMA and the Scottish health secretary published a joint agreement setting out their shared principles for negotiating a new GP contract.
The parties have agreed to maintain the current stability arrangement until April 2018 while a full review of pay and expenses is carried out next year. A new contract had been expected to be introduced in 2017.
The agreement published and sent to GPs today pledges to transfer a number of services out of the GMS contract, while leaving the funding in place.
‘A number of the current GMS services would seem better planned and delivered by Health Boards and HSCPs. We will work with those partners to ensure the safe and effective transfer of as many of those services from out of the GMS Contract as possible, leaving the GMS funding in place with practices.’
In a joint letter to GPs health secretary Shona Robison and GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said there would be no 'big bang' approach to a new contract, rather a 'measured step-wise approach'.
The said: 'Immediate next steps will be to agree a practical way forward on premises, on workload and sustainability, and support for clusters.'
The government last month announced that annual investment in primary care would increase £500m by the end of this parliament, bringing primary care’s share of NHS spending to 11%.
Health secretary Shona Robison said: ‘We are significantly increasing the amount of investment going into primary care – an extra £500 million by the end of this Parliament. However, as we have made consistently clear, we must also reform the way we provide services.
‘We are shifting the balance of care away from hospitals and into the community, and GPs have a vital role to play in working with us to make it happen. For our part we will work to improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career, with action on workloads, and steps to create a more sustainable workforce.’
GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘This important agreement is the result of ongoing negotiations that began last year. In April, we agreed the removal of QOF and have negotiated a number of other measures including new maternity and paternity support; a national performers list; occupational health service for all GPs and practice staff and funding for emergency oxygen.
‘Our shared vision for the future of Scottish general practice requires a team approach. It relies on clinical and non-clinical staff working together and to progress this there needs to be discussion that goes beyond the GP contract. We are mindful that this is an ongoing process, that further contractual changes will be necessary and that it will take time to make general practice in Scotland sustainable for the future.
‘Following on from the first minister’s commitment to invest an additional £500m a year in primary care by 2021/22, we will continue to negotiate how to modernise the contract, improve access to general practice and improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career to ensure that patients continue to receive the care they need.’