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Scottish GP contract announced

December 23, 2013 | General

Doctors claim changes to the GP contract in Scotland will significantly reduce needless box-ticking and give doctors more time to focus on the needs of their patients

The changes will begin to address the relentless workload issues facing general practice by reducing bureaucracy and return to patient-centred care, GP leaders said today (Monday 23 December).

The changes to the GP contract in Scotland have been agreed following negotiations between the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee and the Scottish Government.

Dr Alan McDevitt, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said:

‘We are pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised that GPs are facing unprecedented pressures on workload with rising demand within limited resources and that, by reducing much of the unnecessary bureaucracy associated with the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), GPs will be freed to focus more on their patients.

‘The agreement will allow a return to consultations where GPs can use their clinical judgement, not a checklist, when treating patients.

‘We have agreed a new quality and safety focus within the remaining QOF that will ensure practices continue to prioritise quality of care, and which also supports regular reviews of access arrangements and engagement in the integration of health and social care.

‘It is also part of the agreement to transfer funding released from the reduction in the QOF into practice core funding which will provide some much needed financial stability for GPs.

‘This year’s agreement has given us an opportunity to make further changes to the contract to move towards a less bureaucratic and more professionally driven general practice.  We are well aware of the pressures under which GPs and their staff work, but we hope that by working with the Scottish Government in the future, we can improve the conditions for general practice to help renew GPs’ enthusiasm and energy to deliver the best care for patients.’

The agreement includes:

· The removal of 264 points from the Quality and Outcomes Framework leaving a total of 659 points remaining.

· A substantial transfer of funding from the QOF to the core funding element of the contract.

· The creation of a new Quality and Safety QOF domain which will retain Anticipatory Care Plans and new areas of access, quality, integration and ongoing patient safety work.

· Access: GP practices will undertake an annual assessment of current demand – assessing both met and unmet need, using a model and process agreed by the BMA and the Scottish Government.  Practices will be encouraged to involve patients in the review process.

· Integration: Each practice will nominate a liaison GP to link to a liaison person from the new health and social care integration partnerships.

· Quality: A quality improvement visit will take place at practices once every three years.  Practices will produce an annual quality programme report.