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Highly skilled practice managers needed, says 2018 GMS contract in Scotland

by Valeria Fiore
14 November 2017

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Scotland practices will need highly qualified practice managers to engage with the wider primary care system, says the proposed 2018 General Medical Services (GMS) contract in Scotland.

On top of their traditional duties, practice managers will be asked to collaborate with GP Clusters, NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP), and any new service that might emerge.

The 2018 Contract states that practice managers in Scotland are already competent enough to deal with any new task that might be required of them in the future.

The contract states: ‘Practice managers already have a wide range of skills which will be essential for the future including financial management, IT management, HR management, contract management, leadership and facilitation, Quality Improvement skills, change management, communication and patient engagement skills.’

The main purpose of the 2018 CMS contract, which has been developed by the Scottish GP Committee (SGPC) and the Scottish Government, is to make sure doctors work in a ‘dynamic and positive environment’ and guarantee patients a high quality level of care.

In order to allow GPs to spend more time with their patients, the 2018 Contract proposed that more non-expert medical generalist workload should be ‘redistributed to the wider primary care multi-disciplinary team’.

SGPC chair Alan McDevitt said: ‘This contract offers solutions to the pressures faced by general practice.

‘By expanding the primary care team and working with integration authorities to improve patient access to services delivered by other professionals, such as, practice nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists, GPs can have more time to concentrate on being GPs.’

The 2018 Contract also sets out new opportunities for practice administrative staff in general. For instance, practice receptionists could ‘support patients with information on the range of primary care multi-disciplinary team services available, or to increase their role in the management of practice documentation and work optimisation’.

In order to improve the state of general practice in Scotland, which has the highest GP vacancy rate in the UK, the Government has also promised a new minimum earning expectation of £80,430 per year for GP and a further £250m in direct support of general practice by 2021/22.