The SNP Government has allocated an additional £15 million of funding to GP practices across Scotland specifically to help them cope with extra pressures arising from coronavirus (COVID-19).
Around a third of the funding is intended to allow practices to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday if it is safe to do so, helping to alleviate pressures on out-of-hours services.
The remainder will help fund equipment, additional non-clinical staff, GP partners and locum cover for sickness leave.
Personal Protective Equipment is being provided separately to all GP practices by the SNP Government and will not need to be purchased with this additional funding.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said:
“I want to thank all GP practice staff for their incredible hard work throughout this pandemic. They are doing an invaluable job to keep crucial primary care services going in very challenging circumstances.
“Given the unprecedented situation we are in, I have taken the unusual step of asking GP practices to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday – but only if it is safe to do so. This will help to alleviate some pressure from out-of-hours services.
“Working with the Scottish GP Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland we have agreed a package of additional funding for GP practices to help them meet the costs of responding to COVID-19, including the cost of remaining open on Good Friday and Easter Monday. The remainder will help meet other costs being faced by practices during this difficult time.”
Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee Dr Andrew Buist said:
“Our NHS is changing, and at the forefront of that change is the primary care response. General practice is part of that protective ring around the hospital system that will help us all cope with the surge in demand we are expecting. I am extremely proud of how quickly GPs have responded to this challenge with flexibility and ingenuity.
“There is a huge amount of work being put in from the SNP Government and across the system. Now is the time for us to pull together, for clear thinking and strong leadership.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“While everyone is encouraged to stay in as much as possible, primary care remains a key service.
“I would like to pay tribute to all NHS Ayrshire and Arran health workers, both those treating patients and in other fields for their continued work.
“Giving them the right support to deal with the additional pressures caused by the coronavirus is crucial and will help save lives.”