Better access to occupational health from today.
A new scheme to support the health of GPs and general practice staff comes into force across Scotland from today.
The move, backed by £920,000 of funding, means that everyone who works for a GP practice will now be able to access their local health board’s occupational health services free of charge.
Health Secretary Shona Robison made the commitment to the British Medical Association (BMA) earlier this year as a recognition of the contribution that primary care staff make to the health service.
The funding will be provided on a recurring basis from this year onwards.
NHS Scotland’s occupational health service helps staff with issues like posture, recovering from injuries, back pain, returning to work after illness and workplace assessments. Through the service employees have access to a range of specialists including occupational health nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, consultants and specialist registrars.
Ms Robison said:
“General practice is a highly valued part of our health care system in Scotland, and we must get it back to being the profession of choice for more young doctors. That is one of the reasons why we have announced an additional £500 million of funding for primary care over the next five years.
“As well as increasing funding we have to look after GPs and their practice staff, and ensure that the basics are right. Occupational health is a key part of that.
“This additional funding will mean that our GP practice staff will be able to benefit from more effective occupational health. I acknowledge that working in GP surgeries has its challenges and therefore it’s quite right that these valued members of the NHS family are able to take full advantage of these services. It will also help us to create a more sustainable workforce in the long-term.”
Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said:
“Measures that provide continued support to practices are very welcome and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has committed recurring funding to ensure that all our staff will have free access to the occupational health service.”
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