More funding to improve patient services
£82.6m to help deal with winter pressures on GP practices.
To improve services for patients £82.6 million has been allocated to health boards to expand teams within GP practices and modernise systems.
The funding will allow healthcare professionals to be established in every GP practice including increased:
- pharmacy support for repeat prescriptions and medication reviews
- nursing support for routine tests and wound treatment
- access to physiotherapy services
These measures will ensure patients can see the right healthcare expert at the right time while giving GPs more time with patients most in need of their skills and allowing doctors to focus on complex diagnosis, such as suspected cancer cases.
A further £2m has also been allocated to modernise telephone systems within practices which will improve call waiting times for patients.
This investment is part of £360m allocated under the 2018 GP Contract to health boards over four years to ensure that all patients get the support they need from an extended community healthcare team – this announcement of £77.5m is the final allocation of the four-year fund with an additional £3.1m from this year’s budget.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“It has been a pleasure to visit the Dunblane Health Centre where the multi-disciplinary team of health professionals has been successfully supporting patients for some time. GP surgeries provide a wide range of services, supporting both the physical and mental health of patients. The contribution general practice makes to the health and wellbeing of communities is invaluable. This funding will improve how general practice services are delivered and in turn enhance the patients’ experience of accessing care.
“We have now delivered every penny we committed to Health Boards and GPs as part of our ongoing commitment to help support practices deliver care. The NHS is facing the biggest challenge this winter and this investment will have real benefits for both patients and front-line staff.”
Chair of British Medical Association Scotland’s GP committee Dr Andrew Buist said:
“Things continue to be really tough for GPs and teams working in practices across Scotland. We need help to cope with demand – both while the pandemic continues and looking longer term, including as restrictions begin to ease following the Omicron wave. A crucial part of this is building the teams around GPs and ensuring there are the right skilled staff in place to ensure people at treated by the most appropriate professional, freeing up GPs time to focus on the highest priority patients who need our time the most. This funding will make a crucial contribution in that sense, so is very welcome and we hope it will make a real difference for practices and patients across Scotland.”
Chief Executive of NHS Forth Valley Cathie Cowan said:
“NHS Forth Valley was one of the first Health Boards in Scotland to pilot the introduction of physiotherapists and mental health nurses in local GP practices and has invested in the development of multidisciplinary teams to support local GP across the area.
“The feedback from local patients who used these services has been very positive as they really appreciate being able to see a wider range of healthcare staff, including physiotherapists and mental health nurses, in their local GP practice. It also supports GPs by freeing up time to spend with patients with more complex health conditions.”
The Scottish Government has allocated £360m of funding over four years under the 2018 GP Contract - £40m in 2018/2019; £55m in 2019/2020; £110m in 2020/2021 and £155m in 2021/22. Further investment will be made in these reforms with recurring funding increasing from £155m to £170m as part of the 2022-23 budget and our ongoing commitment to support GP practices to continue providing a high level of care to patients.
In addition, £15m direct winter support to practices was announced by the First Minister on 29 November.
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