General practice staff, including nurses, are to be given additional training to develop their skills, the Scottish government has pledged.
It said the move, to be funded with £2.5m, was part of plans to develop the “skills of the whole practice team”, in order to make it easier for patients to access the “right person at the right time”.
“We can make the whole system more efficient”
Additional training will be made available for general practice nurses, so they are “better equipped” to meet the needs of patients with multiple health conditions, said the government.
This formed part of an overall move “towards developing enhanced nursing roles within general practice”, it said in a short statement announcing the policy commitment.
Meanwhile, receptionists and practice managers will also be able to access training on “signposting patients to the most appropriate source of help or advice”, for example, other community services.
Staff will also be “up-skilled” to allow them to take on more of the administrative tasks currently carried out by GPs, said the Scottish government.
Health secretary Shona Robison said: “By investing in the training of practice staff we can make the whole system more efficient. We can also increase the skills of those practice staff and improve their job satisfaction.”
In response, Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the British Medical Association’s Scottish GP committee, said: “This is a welcome investment that will help towards the continuing development of practice staff.
“Practice managers, practice nurses, receptionists and healthcare assistants are all essential to the future of general practice,” he noted.
The investment is part of an additional £71.6m in direct support of general practice, announced by Ms Robison in March.
The Scottish government has commitment to invest an extra £250m in general practice per year by 2021.