It has been revealed that funding for general practice will be increased by £250 million annually by 2021.
Meanwhile, increases in funding worth £71 million will be instigated in the forthcoming financial year.
These figures were revealed by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport Shona Robison at the Scottish LMCs conference.
The additional funding announced at the conference represents around 50% of the £500 million rise in overall funding for primary care that was previously announced by the Scottish government.
GP leaders have welcomed the fact that £250 million of this money will be directed into the ailing general practice.
The £71 million GP investment for 2017/18 includes a 1% uplift for staff expenses and 3.5% uplift for other expenses through the GMS contract.
Speaking at the conference held in Clydebank, Robison indicated the importance of general practice to the Scottish government, stating that the intention of the administration is to reinvigorate the everyday experience of patients.
Robison also stated that the climate in Scotland will steadily diverge from the current situation of GPs being the preferred provider of vaccinations, while also retaining the associated funding.
Robison also announced plans to increase the GP recruitment and retention fund five-fold in 2017/18, with the pharmacies fund also being increased by £4.2 million.
Meanwhile, an additional £2 million funding will be made available to train nurse practitioners and practice nurses, and a healthy increase to sickness pay was also revealed.
Scottish GPC chairman Dr Alan McDevitt commented on the announcements made at the conference, and warmly welcomed the investment in general practice in particular.
“We are delighted to have negotiated with the Scottish government that a substantial proportion of the additional investment into primary care will be spent in direct support of general practice. This will allow us to move forward in our negotiations to agree a sustainable future for general practice in Scotland.”
McDevitt also outlined the role that the GPC had played in the ultimate outcome.
“Throughout our negotiations we have been absolutely clear that a significant part of this funding must be in direct support of general practice so that we can negotiate how this will be spent to ensure it impacts specifically on the issues facing general practice.”
Robison told the conference that it is vital to rebalance the way that GMS contract work.
“You manage demand by expertly distinguishing what needs treatment and what needs explanation. You need the time to practice these core values – that’s why we’re focused on increasing multidisciplinary teams. To give you time we also need balance in the contract. One example of this is we’re starting a programme of work on how we deliver vaccinations. We will move away from GPs being the preferred provider – we need to find ways for other parts of the service to deliver this.”
And Robison also outlined the intention of the government to ensure that associated funding remains within general practice.
“Be reassured the memorandum is clear – associated funding will stay in practices. We’re re-focusing the GMS so it can support GPs to do other things. This will take around three years to complete – it is complex and affects all people in Scotland.”
The aforementioned McDevitt also welcome to this decision
“This is a very positive step in the right direction towards our shared vision of general practice. Freeing up practice time by removing responsibility for immunisation programmes will give welcome relief to overloaded practice staff, allowing them to concentrate more on the needs of patients.”