Yesterday we commented on the Scottish Government's commitment to additional funding for primary care announced earlier this year at the BMA annual GP conference. The additional funding - £71.6m included promises to support a GP pay uplift, upgrading premises and additional workforce costs. Today we want to break to cash down in a bit more detail.
The additional funding signals a commitment to increasing GP funding year-on-year through to 2021 to a total of £250m. The additional funds include:
£20m of dedicated workforce funding including a five-fold increase in the GP recruitment and retention fund; from £1m in 2016/17 to £5m 2017/18
£21m for service transformation and clusters and a separate £5.5m investment in infrastructure.
£200k for reimbursement of the increased cost of completing GP appraisals.
Support for an increase in sick cover claims for locus cover to match the level of maternity leave cover.
The increase in funding has been met with widespread approval, with GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt commenting that the group were delighted to have successfully negotiated with the Scottish Government for a substantial increase in funds which will be spent directly in general practice. He recognised that the funding is a more towards a share vision of general practice which is well funded, well staffed and future-proofed with appropriate planning in place.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Shona Robison MSP said, 'We are committed to reinvigorate general practice so we can attract more people into to profession, make things better for people already working there, and ensure it has a bright future.’
The contractual uplift also includes a 1% uplift to take-home pay subject to DDRB review. Last week an announcement of £2.5m for upskilling of GP staff within the funding was made, and is geared towards training receptionist and practice managers about signpost to appropriate patient services, as well as providing teaching to practice nurses on delivering care to patients with multiple and complex medical issues. The move is hoping to reinvigorate interest in careers in General Practice and drive recruitment of junior doctors into the specialty.