On Friday the Scottish Local Medical Committee conference takes place in Clydebank, when representatives from Scotland’s 14 LMCs come together to debate policy that forms the basis of our SGPC negotiations on behalf of GPs working in Scotland.
In my last blog I spoke about our frustration at the slow progress with transformative service roll out to reduce inappropriate GP workload. Since then we have received the results from our new contract services survey of Scottish practices. My thanks to the 624 practices who returned the survey which paints a picture of widespread partial implementation in many practices, with reasonable progress at level 1 pharmacotherapy, but I am concerned that many practices report not yet seeing any progress, particularly around CTAC services and adult vaccinations. We are in close discussions with Scottish Government to increase the pace of change and ensure service transfers take place before 1st April 2021.
I also wanted to tell you about our plans for phase 2 of the contract. Phase 2 is about GP pay reform and establishing a new system that will be sustainable for the future and allow the independent contractor GP workforce to grow in order to meet the increasing needs of the Scottish population. Our stated intention is to negotiate to ensure the earnings of all GPs in Scotland wherever they work should be at least comparable to that of hospital consultants for core clinical work. This is irrespective of whether you work in a city centre or on a remote island. The pay will vary with experience, will be increased where GPs are partners and can also be supplemented by additional work you may do such as enhanced services. It will send a strong message that general practice is not second best, and we believe will encourage more doctors to choose to become general practitioners. This change will ensure greater equity of earnings for all GPs and end the need for pay supplements required by distributive formulas. I understand how undervalued many rural GPs felt because of the Income & Expenses guarantee; this proposed change will do away with the need for this, as pay will be based on being a GP and doing the expert medical generalist job you do, with all the additional diversity and challenges that comes with being rural.
Work on developing a phase 2 proposal will begin in early 2020 and will run in parallel with progressing phase 1; the two phases are not dependant on each other. Subject to approval from the GP profession, phase 2 could start as early as April 2021, but in order to progress this we need practices in Scotland to return a Workforce, Income and Expenses data collection, which will be sent out to you in the next few weeks. The data collected will be anonymised by NSS so that neither SG nor SGPC will be able to see individual practice information – however it is vitally important practices do return this information so that we are sighted on practice’s circumstance.
There will no doubt be a lot of debate on Friday – I look forward to seeing many of you there and hearing your views about the future of the profession.
Andrew Buist, Chair of the Scottish GP Committee
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