1. Scotland's health service is facing many challenges: growing demand from an increasingly elderly, multi-morbid population, persisting health inequalities, increasing public expectations and an ageing workforce, as well as recruitment challenges and financial pressures.
2. The Vision for health and care in Scotland is that by 2020, everyone is able to live longer healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting and that Scotland will have a healthcare system:
- which has people at the centre of its decisions;
- where health and social care are delivered in an integrated way; and
- where there is a focus on prevention, anticipation and supported self-management.
3. The 2020 Vision Route Map describes 12 priority areas for action. One of these priority areas focuses on the role of primary care with the following key deliverables identified for 2013-14:
- Implementation of the more Scottish GP contract with benefits fully explored and realised;
- 2020 Vision for expanded primary care developed; and
- New models for 'place-based' primary care developed including a model for remote primary care implemented and evaluated.
4. Another of the priority areas relates to the delivery of unscheduled and emergency care. The Unscheduled Care Expert Group has been established to identify and agree high impact actions to transform the way that unscheduled care is delivered with a focus on reducing the number of people who present at A&E Departments, through action in the community, in primary care and by improving the flow of patients in and out of A&E. One of the key deliverables for 2013-14 is the development of out of hospital care as part of the National Unscheduled Care Action Plan.
5. An understanding of the primary care sector and those delivering the service (in and out of hours) is fundamental to the achievement of these deliverables. The data collected from GP practices and NHS Scotland Health Boards by means of surveys, such as the National Primary Care Workforce Survey, help build a picture of Scotland's primary care workforce. This then informs planning at national, regional, Health Board and local (CHP and GP practice) level and is integral to the implementation of the 2020 Workforce Vision.
6. The 2013 National Primary Care Workforce Survey was undertaken during the first few months of the calendar year. Building on the 2009 survey, the 2013 Survey for the first time collected information on the GP out of hours workforce. This report outlines the background to, and development of, the Survey. In addition, it sets out the feedback received from those involved in completing the Survey which has informed a number of recommendations for future similar exercises, many of which underline the essential nature of collaboration at all stages of the Survey.
Email: JOHANN MACDOUGALL