RCGP Scotland calls for GP Cluster model to be extended to Out of Hours general practice

Publication date: 27 June 2019

RCGP Scotland has called for the GP Cluster model to be extended beyond its current remit of in-hours general practice. RCGP Scotland Chair, Dr Carey Lunan said:

"Currently GP Clusters are only funded for daytime general practice. Given that patient care in the evenings and at weekends is covered separately by the Out of Hours GP service, RCGP Scotland is calling for the Cluster model to be widened to include GPs working in the Out of Hours setting, where it is equally important to be able to undertake Quality Improvement work and influence how wider systems could work more effectively."

The call comes as RCGP Scotland welcomes the release of new national guidance for GP Clusters in Scotland. Dr Carey Lunan said:

"RCGP Scotland is delighted to see new guidance issued for Clusters across Scotland, drawing on joint working with Scottish Government, the Scottish General Practitioners Committee of the BMA (SGPC), Scottish Primary Care Clinical Leads and input from Healthcare Improvement Scotland."

Clusters are groups of GP practices coming to together to share ideas and learning, focus on local quality improvement work, and influence how wider healthcare systems can be improved. RCGP Scotland has employed three GPs as ‘Local Advocates’ to meet with Clusters around Scotland, which has helped to develop an understanding of what is working well, what challenges are being faced, and to allow Clusters to be linked in with RCGP resources and support. Findings from Local Advocates have influenced how this new guidance has been developed.

Dr Carey Lunan also said:

"Working in this new way through GP Clusters offers enormous potential to develop and then deliver high quality patient care in Scotland according to the needs of local populations. There is currently a huge variation across the country in the resources that are available to support them in their work, which can mean variation in outcomes for patients. Clusters must be resourced equitably across the country, which would create conditions for those leading Clusters to fulfil this potential."

Further Information

Lizzie Edwards
Devolved Councils
Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer
020 3188 7741 / 07787 216 842

Notes to editor

  1. RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 family doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.
  2. A definition of GP Clusters can be found on the Scottish Government website. In short, a GP Cluster is a professional grouping of general practices, represented at periodic meetings by Practice Quality Leads (PQL), which may take place either face to face or by video conference depending on individual circumstance or need. Each GP cluster will have a Cluster Quality Lead (CQL) whose role is to facilitate and guide the members and liaise with locality and professional structures. As a principle, they should be viable for small group work, with typically a membership of between 5 and 8 practices. The purpose of these clusters is to provide a mechanism whereby GPs may engage in peer-led quality improvement activity within and across practices and also contribute to the oversight and development of care within the wider healthcare system.
  3. Read the National Guidance for Clusters. A resource to support GP Clusters and support Improving Together document.
  4. Read RCGP Scotland's new policy report, From the Frontline [PDF]
  5. View RCGP Scotland's #RenewGP campaign [PDF]

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