News

General Practice support over Winter and beyond

Published: 29 Nov 2021 12:28

£30 million will help support more face-to-face appointments.

The Scottish Government is providing funding of £30 million to support GP practices to continue providing a high level of care to patients through winter and into next year.

The funding will help with the provision of existing GP services, including:

  • supporting more face-to-face appointments
  • extra GP sessions, practice nurse time and non-core hours covering all appointments
  • more administrative time and practice manager time
  • organised cover for reflection, learning and innovation
  • external GP locum sessions

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“The contribution general practice makes to the health and wellbeing of communities, through continuity of care and meaningful relationships with patients, is invaluable. We recognise that, as face-to-face appointments have resumed and demand is increasing, surgeries are working overtime to meet patient needs.

“This support package will allow practices to target investment where it is most required to sustain the high levels of care they have always provided through what is likely to be the most challenging period in the history of the NHS.”

Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee Dr Andrew Buist said:

“BMA Scotland has consistently sought a greater level of support for GPs and we are pleased that the Scottish Government has listened and taken this step in the face of the huge challenges of this winter and beyond. With demand continuing to outstrip capacity, this will help support practices in the coming months and plug some of the gaps caused by difficulties in recruiting to practice teams.

“It is particularly good GPs have flexibility to focus funding on what will make the most difference to their practice and their patients. As we look ahead to next year and the ongoing threat to the sustainability of practices, this is a welcome addition we have secured in negotiation with the Government.”

Background

The support package will be given in two instalments of £15 million, in December 2021 and April 2022.

The Scottish Government recently announced £7 million to improve GP surgeries, expanding the level of care to patients across Scotland. This includes £5 million from the Primary Care Fund to make improvements to existing GP premises, and £2 million to obtain new sites to accommodate multi-disciplinary teams. £600,000 has also been allocated separately to improve GP telephone systems.

Further winter funding will support acceleration of recruitment multi-disciplinary teams to support general practices, such as physiotherapists and specialist mental health staff.