General practice in Scotland will benefit from an extra £250 million a year by 2021 under wider plans to raise overall annual funding for primary care by £500 million, Scottish health secretary Shona Robison has confirmed.
An additional £71.6 million will be streamed into the field in 2017/18 to help boost recruitment and retention, develop new ways of delivering services and cover pay and expenses, she said.
Of this, £60 million will directly support general practice, with £20 million going towards addressing workforce issues, £21 million for transformation and clusters, and £5.5 million for infrastructure. The remaining £11.6 million is for contract uplift in 2017/18 to cover pay and expenses.
“We are committed to reinvigorate general practice so we can attract more people into to profession, make things better for people already working there, and ensure it has a bright future,” noted Ms Robison, speaking at the British Medical Association’s Scottish Local Medicine Committee conference in Clydebank.
“I recognise there are challenges, but by listening to the profession and working with them, we are delivering the investment and reform to meet those challenges head on.”
BMA Scottish GPs committee chair Alan McDevitt welcomed the move. “We are delighted to have negotiated with the Scottish Government that a substantial proportion of the additional investment into primary care will be spent in direct support of general practice,” he said.
“This will allow us to move forward in our negotiations to agree a sustainable future for general practice in Scotland.”
The BMA also applauded Ms Robison’s proposal to transfer immunisation programmes out of general practice, to help alleviate workload pressures.
“Practices are currently facing unprecedented workload pressures against a backdrop of an ageing population with increasingly complex care needs,” McDevitt noted.
“Freeing up practice time by removing responsibility for immunisation programmes will give welcome relief to overloaded practice staff, allowing them to concentrate more on the needs of patients.”