Health Secretary Shona Robison and doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) have thrashed out a draft contract to address the country’s recruitment crisis.
It will see more patients treated by other health professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists working in the community.
Services will be re-designed so that family doctors are “expert medical generalists” who focus on undiagnosed and complex cases.
The Scottish Government will also provide an extra £30 million over the next three years to help GPs reduce the risks associated with owning or leasing their own premises.
It follows warnings long-leases signed in the 1980s are coming to an end with junior medics facing massive repair bills long after original partners have retired.
Doctors’ leaders say that GP services are in the midst of the worst crisis for a generation, with one in 11 surgeries closing or restricting new patient lists, while locums are paid up to £800 a day to plug shortages.
The British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland said the new contract could help boost recruitment and make general practice “fit for the future”.
Dr Alan McDevitt, chairman of its Scottish GP committee, said: “This contract offers solutions to the pressures faced by general practice.
“The additional funding attached to this contract is a significant investment and demonstrates the value placed on the role of general practice in the NHS in Scotland.”
The deal aims to “reduce workload pressures and re-establish general practice as an attractive career choice”.
Ministers have promised to cut bureaucracy so GPs can spend more time with patients and less on paperwork.
A new funding formula will be introduced to reflect practice workload more accurately by weighting more for older patients and deprivation.
A minimum earnings expectation is also planned to ensure no GP partner earns less than £80,430 (including pension contributions) by April 2019.
That could mean that one in five GP partners are better off, according to the Scottish Government.
Some services, such as responsibility for delivering vaccinations, will also be transferred to health boards without a loss of funding.
If GPs vote to approve the new contract, it will come into force in April next year.
Ms Robison said: “GPs tell us they want to spend more time with patients and less time on bureaucracy, while patients say they want better access to GPs when they really need them.
“We have listened and, I believe, we have achieved that balance.
“These changes, agreed jointly with the British Medical Association, will give patients the right care in the right place. Patient safety is at the very heart of this agreement and is the central principle guiding how changes will be implemented.”
Tories, who launched a “Save our Surgeries” campaign calling on the Scottish Government to prioritise GP funding, welcomed the draft deal.
The party’s health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “This contract looks like a move in the right direction yet it is 10 years too late and the Scottish Government must now show they can turn their words into action.”
Anas Sarwar, for Scottish Labour, added: “Bold action has to be taken, both to stem the losses of GPs we have seen in recent years and attract more people into the profession.”
Source : EXPRESS