Scottish LMCs to demand 'major funding rise' as workload soars

Patients will be put at risk unless GP practices receive a 'major increase in resources' to help them cope with work transferred out of hospital, LMC leaders in Scotland will warn on Friday.

Dr Alan McDevitt: GPC Scotland chairman
Dr Alan McDevitt: GPC Scotland chairman

Funding should be top-sliced from health board budgets to help practices absorb the extra work, according to a motion set for debate at the Scottish LMCs Conference 2013 in Glasgow.

Scottish GPs are also set to debate a formal split from the UK GMS contract after a keynote speech by health minister Alex Neil, who has said he is ‘relaxed’ about a breakaway deal.

LMC leaders plan to debate a motion put forward by Ayrshire and Arran LMC declaring that 'the time is now right for a wholly separate and independent GP contract in Scotland'.

They will also debate scrapping Scotland’s equivalent of PMS contracts – section 17c deals – in favour of a ‘common single contract for Scottish general practice’. Around one in ten practices in Scotland are on non-GMS contracts.

Concerns about workload and a dwindling workforce will also dominate, in line with concerns set out at the Welsh LMCs Conference earlier this month.

LMCs put forward motions congratulating GPC Scotland on negotiating contract changes ‘less damaging than those imposed in England’, but warned this ‘does little to help with the overwhelming workload now faced’ by practices.

Under the Scottish deal, England’s plans to axe MPIG over seven years from 2014 have been dropped and changes to QOF scaled back.

Scottish LMCs remain concerned about GMS changes, however. A Lothian LMC motion warned that further unresourced changes to QOF would drive up workload and could put patients at risk.

The rise in work moving to general practice in Scotland has prompted a series of motions demanding a freeze on the transfer of new work without new money.

Practices are struggling to cope already and could face further pressure because of a workforce crisis, LMCs will warn.

Motions put forward suggest both GP trainee posts and GP principal jobs are remaining unfilled and that changes to pensions will trigger a wave of early retirements.

GPs at the conference are also planning to call for premises funding and better integration of health and social care, while one motion suggests free prescriptions in Scotland are ‘poor use of scarce NHS resources’.

* For live coverage of the conference on Friday, keep an eye on GPonline.com

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