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Scotland pumps £1m into primary care

6 November 2013

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Scotland has announced a £1 million fund to decrease paperwork for GPs and trial new models of care. 

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said the improvements should lead to patients having better access to GPs. 

The government is also working closely with the British Medical Association (BMA) to modernise the existing GP contract. 

The £1 million programme will build on individual initiatives which are already working well, such as the ‘Deep End’ practices which deal with health inequalities, and NHS Highland’s work to test models of delivering rural healthcare.

These initiatives are designed to meet the challenges of an ageing population, health inequalities, and the need to support people to live at home for as long as possible.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “I am today asking my officials to work with the British Medical Association (BMA) to review access across all GP practices in Scotland and to develop an action plan to address any issues that arise from the review.

“I am also announcing today an initial tranche of £1 million to support a primary care programme which will work with health boards across Scotland to trial new models of care.

“But this is just the first stage. GPs should get the time to do what they really want to do – which is work with individuals to ensure that their medical care is right for them, for their family and carers, and for their local environment.

“To do this we intend to modernise the GP contract, and to transform our approach to primary care.” 

Dr Alan McDevitt, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “General practice is facing immediate pressures: a rising population and growing list sizes, increased complexity of care and an aging population.  However at the same time, general practice is working at maximum capacity, workload is rising and funding is falling.

“These are difficult challenges and I am pleased that the Scottish Government is working with us to try to identify solutions that could improve access without compromising quality or safety of care.  Without additional resources to increase the capacity of general practice, it will be almost impossible to achieve the Government’s vision for the NHS in Scotland.”