Scottish Government allocate £82.6 million to improve patient services

The Scottish Government has announced new funding to improve services for patients, allocating £82.6 million to support health boards in modernising systems and expanding teams within GP practices.

The funding hopes to improve access to physiotherapy units; increase pharmacy support for repeat prescriptions and medications reviews; and expand nursing support for routine tests and wound treatment.

The Scottish Government highlights that the measures will help ensure patients can see the right healthcare expert at the right time, whilst giving GPs more time with patients and allowing doctors to focus on complex diagnosis – such as suspected cancers.

A further £2 million has also been provided to modernise telephone systems within GP practices, aiming to improve call waiting time for patients.

The investment is part of £360 million in funding, allocated under the 2018 GP Contract to health boards over four years, to ensure all patients get necessary support from an extended community healthcare team.

Humza Yousaf, Health secretary, said on the new funding: “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.”

Dr Andrew Buist, Chair of British Medical Association Scotland’s GP Committee, added: “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.”