Contractual arrangements for GPs in Scotland will now be made every three years instead of annually.
British Medical Association Scotland (BMA Scotland) had complained that practices were having to deal with the additional workload of adapting to changes every year.
GP leaders have welcomed the change, claiming it will provide “stability and financial security” for practices while also freeing them to focus on the challenges facing general practice.
Following negotiations, the Scottish government has agreed to a raft of changes which will be implemented post 2017.
These include key priorities for action, including:
- Managing GP workload.
- Strengthening the infrastructure (premises and IT) within general practice.
- Measures to encourage recruitment and retention of GPs in Scotland.
- Strengthening primary health care teams in and around GP practices.
- Addressing the challenges inherent in caring for an increasingly multi-morbid and elderly population.
- Meeting the needs of deprived and remote and rural communities.
Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “This agreement is the culmination of ongoing negotiations that we began last year. In November 2013, we began the process of reducing bureaucracy and creating financial stability for general practice to enable GPs to spend less time ticking boxes and more time focusing on the patient in the consultation.
“Scottish general practice is on the brink of crisis. Having time to focus on finding solutions to the pressures of rising workload and the problems of recruitment and retention will enable us to protect and support the model of general practice that is so valued by our patients.”