The Scottish Government has announced it is funding a £10m programme to improve out-of-hours care.
The government will run pilot projects at eight sites across Scotland that will go on to inform a National Delivery Plan to be published in autumn 2016.
The pilot scheme comes on the back of Sir Lewis Ritchie’s review of out-of-hours care, published in November 2015, which emphasised the need for multi-disciplinary teams to work together.
One of the pilot projects, at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, will test an ‘Urgent Care Resource Hub’ that will involve the wider multi-disciplinary team, including pharmacists, nurses, allied health professionals and paramedics, seeing patients with urgent problems.
“This multi-disciplinary team approach, which moves away from the traditional model of the doctor being the first point of contact for all patient care, will utilise the skills of other highly trained professionals in the NHS and ensure patients are seen by the person best able to address their needs,” says Scottish health secretary Shona Robison.
Other concepts being tested include nurse-led home visits in Glasgow and new referral pathways for out-of-hours paediatric and mental health services in Lanarkshire.
The £10m funding will come from the government’s £85m three-year primary care fund, which is being used to redesign primary care across Scotland.
The Scottish Government has also released details of the second wave of funding for pharmacists working within GP practices: £6.6m will be available from the primary care fund in 2016–2017 as part of the initiative. In 2015, it said that a total of £16.2m would be allocated over three years to recruit up to 140 additional pharmacists with advanced clinical skills training to such roles.