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Alex-NeilOctober 7 2015

Scotland’s health minister has committed to significantly reducing time-consuming bureaucracy for GPs in a speech setting out the Scottish Government’s strategy for modernising primary care.

Addressing the RCGP’s annual conference in Glasgow, Shone Robison called on GPs to work with the Government to transform the delivery of community care. She announced that the Scottish Government will begin work with the BMA to dismantle the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) system of GP payments, “reducing further the bureaucratic burden on GPs, with transitional arrangements in place for 2016-17 in preparation for the new contract in 2017.”

She also gave a “cast iron guarantee” that the Scottish Government would not be following the UK Government’s plans to cut junior doctors’ pay. “I know that the RCGP are particularly concerned the proposals and the growing confusion and alarm that this is causing trainees,” she said.

Addressing funding issues, the minister said a “three year £60million Primary Care Fund should be seen as just the starting point for our commitment to ensuring primary care and the GP profession receives the kind of investment it needs to deal with the considerable challenges of the future.” The funding includes £2.5million for a joint project with the RCGP to enhance GP recruitment and retention in Scotland.

Dr Alan McDevitt, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said the removal of the QOF system would be a significant step towards the BMA’s vision for the future of general practice in Scotland.

“This bold move by the Cabinet Secretary is part of the re-invigoration of general practice in Scotland. It will have a positive effect on practices, by reducing workload and bureaucracy, allowing GPs to focus on the complex care needs of their patients,” he said.

“We believe that moving to a professionally-driven, peer-referenced system of quality will ensure that general practice and the NHS in Scotland continues to deliver a high standard of care to its patients.”

Ms Robison also announced that the findings and recommendations from the Primary Care Out of Hours Review being led by Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie will be published later this year. Following this, the Scottish Government will “work quickly to take forward improvements to GP out-of-hours services”.

QOF-buttonShe also set out a vision for general practice where “care is provided by multi-disciplinary professional teams, planned and delivered within the localities that need them.” This would be where “GPs are the expert medical generalists” but where “the doctors making the critical clinical decisions about their patients, but not necessarily always being the first point of contact.”

Links:

Scottish Government announcement

Ms Robison’s speech

BMA response

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