The BMA has told the GP’s newsletter, Pulse (‘At the heart of general practice since 1960’), that the new Scottish contract is an ‘ambitious departure’ from the rest of the UK and that it will make the profession attractive again. See this from a Pulse report:
‘The 70-page document marks the most radical redrawing of general practice anywhere in the UK since 2004, with GP partners promised a guaranteed minimum income of at least £80k; direct reimbursement of expenses, longer consultations with more complex patients and the transfer of workload to the NHS with no loss of funding. But it is perhaps the whole theme of the document that is refreshing. The reassertion of the GP role as the ‘expert medical generalist’; the citation of Barbara Starfield’s ‘four Cs’ (contact, comprehensiveness, continuity and coordination) as ‘guiding principles’ and the whole emphasis on reducing workload and risk. It all makes the GP Forward View in England look rather cold and mechanistic, rather like a Haynes manual put next to a glossy brochure for a new car.’
Also speaking to Pulse, the Scottish GP Committee chair Dr Alan McDevitt said ‘he was confident that the proposals would offer stability and make the profession attractive to young doctors.’
This comes at a time when GP numbers are falling fast in England with around 1 000 lost in one year despite the recruitment of 3 000 GPs from Europe and beyond:
In Scotland, as far as I can see, the number of GPs in Scotland has remained steady at around 4,900 since 2008 until 2016. I can’t find any 2017 figures yet.
Readers will remember that evidence from 2015 suggests that Scottish GP practices were already the best staffed and that Scottish GPs seemed the least overworked or stressed in the UK:
Already the best staffed and least stressed in the UK, Scottish GPs to get better contracts
When the BMA or RCN or EIS or any other professional body issues a statement which is critical of the public service it is usually given prominence in the media, usually under the quasi-authoritative heading ‘Doctors (or nurses or teachers) slam ….’ whatever decontextualised datum they wish to have publicised in pursuit of some claim regarding conditions or service or wages.
We had extensive coverage of doom-laden predictions about the proposed GP contract. Now we have a statement from the principle negotiating body of the doctors’ side expressing satisfaction, I cannot find a cheep in any of our press or broadcast media.