News

Expanding primary care

Published: 15 Nov 2021 10:05

£7 million to improve and grow the primary care estate.

Funding of £7 million will improve GP surgeries, expanding the level of care to patients across Scotland.

Vacant high street units will be taken over by Integration Authorities to expand the primary care estate, with the funding also used to support GP practices, including digitising records to free up more space.

The Scottish Government has set aside £5 million from the Primary Care Fund in 2021/22 to make improvements to existing GP premises. An additional £2 million will obtain new sites to accommodate multi-disciplinary teams including those administering vaccines, mental health nurses and audiology specialists.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“GP surgeries provide a wide range of services, supporting both the physical and mental health of patients. So it’s vital they get the space they need to allow primary care multi-disciplinary teams to do their jobs.

“As we recover from the most challenging time in NHS history, our work is not only about providing access to services, but ensuring those services are high quality and inclusive for all of our communities. This funding will give GP practices the space they need to serve patients in the safest and most effective way.”

The £5 million from the Primary Care Fund will cover:

  • Premises Improvement Grants to GP contractors who own or lease from private landlords
  • digitisation of paper GP records to release space
  • improved ventilation
  • increased space in NHS-owned or leased premises to support multi-disciplinary teams

The Scottish Government will monitor how Health Boards spend the further £2 million to acquire vacant high street units to inform how the £10 billion available for capital investment in healthcare supports primary care.

Background

Around 380 GP practices occupy NHS-owned health centres while the remaining are in around 530 properties which are either owned by GPs or leased by them from private landlords.

A survey of the non-NHS GP premises, completed in May 2019, identified that 18,500 square metres alone was used for records, filing or archives. Not all of this space will be suitable for clinical use - but some of it may be.