The BMA Scotland has welcomed additional government investment of £20m to reduce the financial risk placed upon GPs by owning practice premises.
BMA Scottish GPs committee chair Andrew Buist said supporting GPs is at the heart of the new Scotland-only contract, which he said is “restoring hope” to the profession.
The premises sustainability loan scheme, which is part of the new contract, is intended to ease the financial burden of owning a practice as well as assisting with recruitment and retention. Under the scheme, eligible practices can apply for interest-free loans worth up to a fifth of the value of the premises.
In the first round, around half (n=172) of eligible practices have been approved for loans. Loans are only repaid when the premises are no longer used for primary care medical services under an NHS contract, or when they are sold.
Announcing the latest investment, which takes the value of the scheme to £50m over the next two years, health secretary Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government wants to ensure GPs have the support they need.
“The BMA and individual GPs have raised concerns with us about the financial risk of owning premises so we have responded directly, and this scheme helps to ‘de-risk’ general practice and reduce some of the upfront costs GPs can face when joining a practice,” she said.
“In doing so, I hope this will make becoming a GP partner more attractive, making it easier to recruit new GPs to a practice,” Ms Freeman said.