Scottish LMCs reject separate contract in favour of 'tartanising' UK deal

Scotland's LMCs conference today rejected a bid to negotiate a separate contract for general practice in Scotland with the Scottish government.

Ms Sturgeon backed a more Scotland-focused contract
Ms Sturgeon backed a more Scotland-focused contract

Instead it decided to continue to support ‘the tartanisation of a UK GP contract rather than a wholly Scottish GP contract’.

Last week GP reported that Scottish GPs could force the break up of the UK-wide contract in a vote at the conference on Thursday in Clydebank, near Glasgow.

Lothian LMC chairman Dr Richard Williams made the case for a separate Scottish contract. He acknowledged the argument that the 24-hour responsibility opt out and the QOF would not have been achieved without the combined might of UK negotiators.

He added: ‘That was then and this is now. In subsequent years what has the contract achieved for us here in Scotland?’

Speaking against, Dr Gerald Bennett said: ‘A national contract would be like the early days of PMS: pay gold and late pain. I fear a Scottish contract would leave Scottish GPs like the Scottish rugby team.’

GPC Scotland chairman Dr Dean Marshall opposed a separate contract for Scotland. He said: ‘Renegotiating the contract is never the answer. It would be suicidal to renegotiate the contract just now in the current financial climate. Working with the government to tartanise the contract, using the flexibility that was always there, that’s the way forward.’

Earlier Scotland’s health secretary Nicola Sturgeon addressed the conference for the second year running, backing a more Scotland-focused contract and also answering questions from GPs in the audience.

Asked what the current inappropriate aspects of the UK GP contract were, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘This is not about ripping it up and starting again. It’s about looking to the future. Are there aspects we could do better? We want to do that collaboratively. That’s the discussion I want to have.’

Earlier she asked whether the contract tackled Scotland’s public health issues well enough.

In his speech to the conference, GPC Scotland chairman Dr Marshall described pension reform as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unfair’. He explained that the NHS Pension Scheme had been renegotiated four years ago and GPs faced contributions of up to 28.5%. ‘Scottish ministers should seek to do something different,’ he urged.

  • Reporter Marina Soteriou is covering the conference for Read her coverage here and follow her tweets at @marina_soteriou #SLMC12

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