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Committee sounds warning over general practice funding

4 July 2008

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A BMA committee has welcomed a review of the new contract for GP practices in Scotland, but warned that the “boom and bust” approach to funding general practice is a mistake.

The Audit Scotland report found that the new General Medical Services contract, introduced four years ago, had resulted in some benefits for patients in areas like monitoring and flexibility, but said it would take time to improve patient care.

Dr Dean Marshall (pictured), chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GPs Committee, said the report was a “timely reminder” of the reasons why a new contract was required for general practice.

“GPs were struggling to manage an ever-growing workload, morale was at an all time low and recruitment and retention was becoming a significant problem,” he said. “The new contract sought to resolve these issues which helped to make general practice an attractive career option once again.”

Dr Marshall said he was pleased that the report had recognised the hard work and commitment of Scotland’s GPs to deliver the new contract, but said that without better co-operation between government and GPs, the benefits may be short-lived.

“Just as we are beginning to see the beneficial effects on patients’ lives, cuts in funding could mean that those improvements are less likely to continue,” he added.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Audit Scotland

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