Scotland: Polling opens for GP contract

The BMA announces that polling on the proposed contract for Scottish GPs is open

The leader of Scotland’s GPs has called on the profession to back the proposed new contract, saying it would bring significant benefits to general practice across the country.

Polling opens today on the first Scotland-only GP contract, which aims to reduce workload pressures and re-establish general practice as an attractive career option.

Elements of the proposed contract include freeing GPs up to be expert medical generalists at the heart of an expanded multidisciplinary team and steps to make rural general practice sustainable.

SGPC chair Alan McDevitt said a yes vote would be good for GPs, good for the health service and good for patients.

‘I would urge GPs to accept the new contract offer,’ he said. ‘GPs across Scotland have been telling us of the pressures they face. More than a quarter of practices have at least one GP vacancy, and we are increasingly hearing of practices having to hand back responsibility to the health board. We must adopt new ways of working if we are to reverse these trends.’

Dr McDevitt said the contract, which was negotiated between the BMA and the Scottish Government, addresses the issues that are important to GPs.

‘I believe that this contract sets us in a new direction, while retaining the key characteristics that we value, such as the independent contractor status and autonomy to deliver services which are appropriate for our communities,’ he said.

SGPC leaders have been touring the country in a series of roadshows to talk to GPs about the contract proposals. At a special conference of Scottish local medical committees held last week on 1 December, delegates overwhelmingly backed the contract, saying it would address workload pressures, make general practice an attractive career option, put it on a sustainable financial footing and reduce risk.

Dr McDevitt said the Scottish Government had pledged a significant amount of funding in direct support of general practice through this contract proposal.

‘No practice will see a reduction in income under the new contract, and many practices will see an increase in income. The proposed contract will also expand golden hellos in rural areas and provides financial assistance for relocation costs, which will help rural GP recruitment.’

The poll opens on 7 December and closes on 4 January.  It is open to all GPs and GP trainees working in Scotland. Anyone wishing to take part who isn’t already registered must email [email protected] before December 21.

Dr McDevitt added: ‘I truly believe that the contract we have negotiated will, if implemented, bring significant benefits to general practice across the country and help to attract more young doctors into careers as GPs.’

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