The Scottish government has launched a five year plan to improve the quality of primary care in Scotland.
The Delivering Quality in Primary Care document, which has been endorsed by the Royal college of Nursing, sets goals including improving access for patients, implementing the national patient safety programme in primary care, ensuring more effective partnerships between different primary care professionals, and improving communication between primary and secondary care.
RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said the plan offered a “major opportunity” to make improvements to primary care, including out of hours provision, IT quality and workforce issues.
She said: “Due to the potential changes that are set to happen in England following the launch of their white paper for health, it seems likely that there will be changes to the general medical services (GMS) contract, which is the main way in which primary care and GP services are provided in Scotland and is currently negotiated on a UK-wide basis.
“The role of nurses in the practice team is set to grow and grow and this new approach to primary care is an opportunity for nurses to hold new GMS contracts that are designed to provide care that meets all of the needs of patients and that reflects the needs of local communities. This means that teams could be made up of nurses who would be able deal with most consultations, GPs for some cases, and other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists and chiropodists for specialist cases.”
She added: “This is no doubt an exciting time for nurses and other healthcare professionals but more importantly this new approach to primary care has the potential to make a real difference for patients by making access to holistic, high quality care the priority of our NHS.”
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