Primary care transformation in Scotland: qualitative evaluation of the views of general practitioners and multidisciplinary team staff members

Eddie Donaghy, Huayi Huang, David Henderson, Harry Wang, Bruce Guthrie, Stewart W Mercer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: The Scottish Government's vision to transform primary care includes expansion of the primary care multidisciplinary team (MDT), formalised in the new GP contract in April 2018.

AIM: To explore practitioners' views on the expansion of MDT working in Scotland.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Qualitative study with GPs and a range of MDT staff working in three different population settings in Scotland.

METHOD: In-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out by telephone with 8 GPs and 19 MDT staff between May and June 2022. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify commonalities and divergences in the interviews.

RESULTS: Internal challenges facing MDT staff included adapting to the fast pace of primary care, building new relationships, training and professional development needs, line management issues, and monitoring and evaluation of performance. External challenges included the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of time, difficulties with hybrid working, and low staff morale. Most GPs reported that expansion of their roles as expert medical specialists had not yet happened because their workload had not decreased (and in many cases had increased). In deprived areas, insufficient resources to deal with the high numbers of patients with complex multimorbidity remained a key issue. Interviewees in remote and rural settings felt the new contract did not take into account the unique challenges of providing primary care services in such areas, and recruitment and accommodation were cited as particular problems.

CONCLUSION: Although there has been substantial expansion of the primary care MDT, which most GPs welcome, many challenges to effective implementation remain that must be addressed if transformation of primary care in Scotland is to become a reality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e8
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice Open (BJGP Open)
Issue number738
Early online date18 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Primary care transformation
  • reform
  • GP contract
  • multi-disciplinary working
  • rurality
  • multimorbidity
  • health inequalities


Dive into the research topics of 'Primary care transformation in Scotland: qualitative evaluation of the views of general practitioners and multidisciplinary team staff members'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this