A Scottish Government funded trial to improve recruitment and retention of GPs in the most deprived areas has reported decreased stress levels and marked 'renewed enthusiasm' at 6 months.
The scheme, currently being trialed in six key practices across Glasgow, provides funding for young GP fellows in practices four days a week - giving senior GP's time to take on extra projects and undertake personal development to benefit their patients
The Deep End Pioneer Scheme aims to help counter the impact of the inverse care law; that the availability of good medical or social care tends to vary inversely with the need of the population served. It hopes to help increase clinical capacity in practices with high levels of social deprivation, whilst also making these practices an attractive and inspirational place to work thereby helping to retain GPs.
One GP, interviewed by Pulse, Dr Lindsay Crawford admitted there was a temptation of 'walking away' before the scheme came into effect. Dr Crawford and her partner were at breaking point. A few weeks into the scheme she reported sleeping better at night and no longer dreading coming into work.
There have also been tangible benefits to patients - having an extra clinician working three days a week seeing patients has freed up time to focus on other areas, and the practice has seen an improved uptake in patients attending for smear tests to above 80% for the first time in years. This was after they put some of their additional non-clinical time towards focusing on improving cancer screening services.
'We're providing more appointments and we're probably addressing more unmet need in the community'. Dr Crawford reported.
The project has also been praised by the RCGP, acknowledging significant efforts towards addressing the issues between deprivation and provision of services.