Reform Scotland calls for a separate General Medical Services contract for Scotland
Reform Scotland, the independent, non-party think-tank, has called for there to be a separate General Medical Services (GMS) contract, under which GPs operate, for Scotland. The recommendation is part of a wider report – “Patients First: Improving access to GP practices” – which will be published on Monday (3rd).
The GMS contract, under which around 87% of GP practices in Scotland operate*, sets out what services GP practices must provide and how they are funded. At present the GMS contract is negotiated on a UK basis, despite health being devolved and NHS policy across the UK increasingly diverging.
Reform Scotland believes that a combination of the changes being made to the way in which GPs in England operate and the increasing divergence of health policy north and south of the border mean that Scotland would now benefit from having its own GMS contract rather than being part of the UK-wide one.
Commenting, Reform Scotland Director Geoff Mawdsley said:
“It makes little sense for health to be devolved to Holyrood, but the GMS contract negotiated on a UK basis when health policy in the different parts of the UK is diverging.
“This doesn’t mean that ultimately the deal agreed would be all that different and there would be nothing stopping those involved in the Scottish negotiations from simply mirroring the English deal. However, importantly the final agreement for Scottish GPs would be made in Scotland reflecting Scottish circumstances and policies.
“It’s time Scotland negotiated its own GMS contract, negotiated with Scottish circumstances in mind and designed to meet the unique needs of Scottish patients. Patients must come first and this change will help that goal be achieved.”
Notes to Editors:
1) Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility.
2) The full report will be released on Monday 3rd September
3) All media enquiries to Peter Duncan at Message Matters on 07740 469949