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GP surgeries in Scotland will receive an additional £15 million to help them cope with the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

Around a third of the money from the Scottish Government is earmarked to help keep practices open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

It is hoped keeping GP surgeries open will alleviate pressure on other parts of the health service.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Doctor says outbreak could change NHS forever

The remaining money will go towards equipment, additional non-clinical staff and locum cover for doctors who are off sick.

Personal protective equipment is being provided to GP surgeries separately.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "I want to thank all GP practice staff for their incredible hard work throughout this pandemic.

"They are doing an invaluable job to keep crucial primary care services going in very challenging circumstances.

"Given the unprecedented situation we are in, I have taken the unusual step of asking GP practices to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday - but only if it is safe to do so.

"This will help to alleviate some pressure from out-of-hours services."

The funding package was agreed with the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland.

READ MORE: Fit and healthy Paisley man warns public to take social distancing seriously after hospitalised with coronavirus

Dr Andrew Buist, chairman of BMA Scotland's GP committee, said: "This is an unprecedented time for all of us and asking GPs to keep their practices open over public holidays is not a request we have taken lightly.

"Practices and out-of-hours services are working under more pressure than ever during this pandemic and I know GPs across Scotland are willing to put in the extra work required to help the NHS fight this virus."

He said GPs would form a "protective ring" around hospitals as the Covid-19 pandemic causes demand to surge.

Dr Buist added: "I am extremely proud of how quickly GPs have responded to this challenge with flexibility and ingenuity.

"There is a huge amount of work being put in from the Scottish Government and across the system and now is the time for us to pull together, for clear thinking and strong leadership."