You can expect the delays being experienced by an unidentified number of callers to Age Scotland to drive today’s anti-SNP media campaign.
Based on browsing the reports over the last few days, there is the possibility that the same woman from Fife nurtured by Scottish Labour is at the heart of this but, hey, I can’t be sure of that.
Anyhow, you can be sure that the groups representing GPs such as the BMA, will not find themselves examined yet they seem to have had a big part to play in the changes now making it less straightforward for the elderly to get vaccine appointments.
In November 2017, we heard:
‘A new GP contract, jointly designed and agreed with the British Medical Association, will be the biggest reform of GPs services in over a decade. The proposals will ensure that all patients get the support they need from an extended community healthcare team – led by GPs and including nurses, physiotherapists, community mental health workers, paramedics, and pharmacists – to ensure more patients get the best and most appropriate care.’
Driving all of this was a BMA campaign to counter alleged over-work and under-staffing.
At the time, I responded:
I’m all for this. Having been a patient more often in recent times, I can see what they have to put up with. However, it’s important, I think, to remember that general practice in Scotland has been better staffed than in rUK for some time and that Scottish GPs seem to consider themselves less stressed and less overworked too.
First, Scotland has significantly more GPs per head of population:
Scotland –1 GP to 1083 people.
England – 1 GP to 1338 people.
Wales – 1 GP to 1375 people.
Northern Ireland – 1 GP to 1445 people
Second, Scottish GPs are the most satisfied with practising medicine:
Scotland – 80%
England – 65%
Wales – 67%
Northern Ireland – 71%
Third, fewer Scottish GPs work excessive hours than those in the rest of the UK (percentages):
England Scotland Wales N Ireland
1-34 22 15 20 20
35-44 29 34 33 34
44-54 28 39 32 28
50 or over 21 12 15 19
Fourth, Scottish doctors are the least stressed in the UK (percentages)
England Scotland Wales N Ireland
Extremely 19 7 18 15
Very 43 25 37 27
Somewhat 34 57 36 47
Not too 3 11 8 10
Not at all 1 0 1 0
All of the above come from a rigorous academic study carried out by professional researchers, not interested parties like the BBC, BMA or RCGP, at the Commonwealth Institute (USA):
Anyhow, in November 2017 they got a new better contract and the BMA praised it:
The BMA has told the GP’s newsletter, Pulse (‘At the heart of general practice since 1960’), that the new Scottish contract is an ‘ambitious departure’ from the rest of the UK and that it will make the profession attractive again. See this from a Pulse report:
‘The 70-page document marks the most radical redrawing of general practice anywhere in the UK since 2004, with GP partners promised a guaranteed minimum income of at least £80k; direct reimbursement of expenses, longer consultations with more complex patients and the transfer of workload to the NHS with no loss of funding. But it is perhaps the whole theme of the document that is refreshing. The reassertion of the GP role as the ‘expert medical generalist’; the citation of Barbara Starfield’s ‘four Cs’ (contact, comprehensiveness, continuity and coordination) as ‘guiding principles’ and the whole emphasis on reducing workload and risk. It all makes the GP Forward View in England look rather cold and mechanistic, rather like a Haynes manual put next to a glossy brochure for a new car.’
Also speaking to Pulse, the Scottish GP Committee chair Dr Alan McDevitt said ‘he was confident that the proposals would offer stability and make the profession attractive to young doctors.’
In January 2018, they voted for it:
‘To inform the Scottish GP Committee’s decision on whether to implement the proposed new GMS contract in Scotland, a poll of the profession was held to establish whether the contract had the backing of GPs in Scotland. The poll was held between 7 December and 4 January and was open to all GPs working in Scotland, including trainees and locums. The poll asked the question: ‘Do you wish to see the proposed new Scottish GMS contract implemented?’
The overall results were:
I couldn’t help laughing at the idea of GPs spoiling votes. Did they draw willies on the form but more anatomically correct ones?
So, is the current transfer of vaccine delivery just another consequence of developments pushed for by the the BMA in the interests of their members?