NHS Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon announces £30 million fund to boost GP appointments

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a £30 million fund to help GPs offer more appointments as part of a "significant down payment" of extra money for the Scottish NHS.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 9:31 pm

The First Minister used her SNP conference speech to set out funding aimed at helping GPs hold more surgeries and face-to-face appointments during the winter months.

Support totalling £30 million will be spread over two payments and can be used to schedule more appointments or pay practice nurses and external locum GPs for additional hours.

Addressing her virtual party conference, the SNP leader said: "GPs will be able to use this funding - which will be delivered in December and April, in two equal instalments - in ways they judge will deliver the greatest impact for patients.

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Dr Andrew Buist of BMA’s Scottish GP committee welcomed the additional funding.

"That might be through extra GP sessions or additional practice nurse time.

"In short, it will allow practices to target investment where it is most needed to improve access to primary care and help ensure patients get the care they need as close to home as possible."

Ms Sturgeon also paid tribute to the "exhausted" health and social care workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic and said she was proud to have offered many staff the highest pay rise of any UK nation.

GPs had warned about the need for more face-to-face appointments.

She added: "We have promised to increase investment in the NHS - already at record levels - by a further 20% over this term of Parliament.

"We can confirm today that our budget on December 9 will deliver a significant down payment on that commitment.

Following the announcement, Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie, welcomed any additional funding for GPs but said the £30 million "will not touch the sides".

Chairman of the BMA's Scottish GP committee, Dr Andrew Buist, said: "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."

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