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No change for Scottish GMS contract in April 2017

The Scottish GPC and Scottish government have agreed to extend existing GMS arrangements into 2017/18 and revealed that some services could be removed from the contract later in 2017 with practices retaining the associated funding.

The move means the current 'pay stability agreement' will remain in place until April 2018. However, both parties will contiue to neogitate how the GMS contract will develop and expect further changes to be implemented in October 2017.

This could involve a number of services being transferred out of the GMS contract, while funding remains in place, according to a document explaining the BMA and Scottish government's shared principles for negotiating a new GP contract.

The document said: ‘A number of the current GMS services would seem better planned and delivered by health boards and health and social care partnerships. We will work with those partners to ensure the safe and effective transfer of as many of those services from out of the GMS contract as possible, leaving the GMS funding in place with practices.’

In a joint letter to GPs, health secretary Shona Robison and Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said they hoped to see first steps towards this taken in 2017, with further changes in the years ahead.

Review of GP pay

A full review of GP pay and expenses will be carried out during 2017 to help inform what happens to the GMS contract from April 2018 onwards.

Ms Robison and Dr McDevitt said there would be no 'big bang' approach to a new contract, rather a 'measured step-wise approach'.

They said: 'Immediate next steps will be to agree a practical way forward on premises, on workload and sustainability, and support for clusters.'

Shared vision

Dr McDevitt said: 'This important agreement is the result of ongoing negotiations that began last year. In April, we agreed the removal of QOF and have negotiated a number of other measures including new maternity and paternity support; a national performers list; occupational health service for all GPs and practice staff and funding for emergency oxygen.

‘Our shared vision for the future of Scottish general practice requires a team approach. It relies on clinical and non-clinical staff working together and to progress this there needs to be discussion that goes beyond the GP contract. We are mindful that this is an ongoing process, that further contractual changes will be necessary and that it will take time to make general practice in Scotland sustainable for the future.

‘Following on from the first minister’s commitment to invest an additional £500m a year in primary care by 2021/22, we will continue to negotiate how to modernise the contract, improve access to general practice and improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career to ensure that patients continue to receive the care they need.’

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