A NEW General Medical Services contract will aim to ease pressure on doctors and make sure patients “see the right person at the right time”.

At a meeting of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) on Wednesday, the contract was explained, as it looks to tackle the heavy workload of GPs.

Changes, which will take place during a three-year transitionary period, will see GPs rebranded as an expert medical generalist, who will provide clinical leadership but will not necessarily be the person patients see for routine care.

That means, instead of a person going to the GP to be directed to another method of care, such as physiotherapy, they should be signposted to that care immediately.

Jo Gibson, the head of health and community care at the HSCP, said acknowledged GPs are “working in a system under pressure” and added: “We should be able to see the right person, who can help us with a complaint or condition we have.

“That might not be a GP and the new health contract helps us to do that.

“The whole purpose of the new contract is to help people get to the right person at the right time.

“[It aims to provide] more time with a GP for the people who really need it, providing more information and support for a patient but not always from a GP but a wider range of people.

“This is offering GPs a wider primary care team and support team.”

The contract received backing from 72 per cent of doctors in a poll, however, just 39 per cent of GPs turned out for the vote.

Dr Neil Mackay, the chair of the locality group in Alexandria and Dumbarton, said: “No one would disagree with the ethos of the new contract.

“I hope it’s a new dawn for general practice and I hope it improves recruitment.”

Meanwhile, Bailie Denis Agnew described the contract as an “opportunity” and said: “I would hope that GPs who sign up, take it, run with it and develop it.”

Under the contract a primary care improvement plan will be developed, and a steering group has been set up to direct this.