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by Tom Freeman
30 January 2015
Primary care to be reviewed

Primary care to be reviewed

A review of primary care in Scotland has been launched by Health Secretary Shona Robison.

Access to urgent primary services out-of-hours will be the focus of the review, which will be led by Sir Lewis Ritchie.

Scotland’s ageing population has put increasing strain on emergency services, and it is hoped having better access to GPs at out of hours times will work alongside more integrated services to ease the pressure.

Robison said: “The review will look at core requirements for services at night and the weekends as well as what roles and skills are needed, and where. This review will be complemented by the new collaborative approach to unscheduled care the Government is adopting, in partnership with the Academy of Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and other key partners, which I am also announcing today.”

The review will look at recruitment and retention of GPs, staff availability, especially during peak holiday times, consistency of service and the public’s expectations of the service.

Scottish Labour accused the Government of “trying to buy time”. Health Spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: "In October 2013 Alex Neil announced the same ambition that Shona Robison did today with the exception that they will now be looking at GP services in the review too- which is welcome news. But there is no indication that any progress has been made for a year and a half.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners welcomed the announcement. Speaking in Dingwall today, RCGP Scotland Chair, Dr Miles Mack, said: “GPs are the hub of the NHS. That role does not change depending upon the date or time of day.

“This review should concentrate on answering two specific questions. Firstly, how can the funding, capacity and workforce of GPs be increased to allow proper care to patients? Secondly, how can we improve the connections, the interfaces, between general practices and the rest of the NHS?”

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