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To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to ensure the (a) continuation, (b) growth and (c) health of rural general practice in (i) Scotland and (ii) NHS Highland.

Answered by Shona Robison (28/04/2015):

Scottish Ministers are fully committed to ensuring that all communities in Scotland, including remote and rural communities, receive safe, reliable and sustainable health care services.

We are working with the Scottish General Practitioners’ Committee to review the GP contract in Scotland to sustain and support all of general practice in Scotland, not just those in rural areas. While we are doing that, rural practices, just like those elsewhere, are benefitting from a period of contractual and financial stability we have agreed to put in place until 2017. We have agreed new flexibility which began in January 2015 for NHS boards to increase golden hello payments in those areas experiencing GP recruitment difficulties, and rural practices will be the main beneficiaries of this.

In addition, we are supporting NHS Highland with £1.5 million over four years, to develop and test innovative ways of delivering healthcare in rural Scotland. As part of that work we're developing a bespoke recruitment exercise for rural areas.

Current Status: Answered by Shona Robison on 28/04/2015
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