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Do we really want a move away from partnerships?

Dr Ruth Chapman applauds GPs prepared to speak up for the role of the partner

Dr Ruth Chapman applauds GPs prepared to speak up for the role of the partner

At last I am reading articles written by partners who are prepared to stick their heads above the parapet and warn against the diminishing numbers of partnerships.

Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP Vice Chair and partner in south London wrote of 'the enemy within' in the ‘RCGP News' in April.

Her article was a breath of fresh air.

She warns that the move away from appointing new partners threatens to destroy general practice as we know it and will encourage doctors to work in the private sector.

At a time when Virgin have been presenting glossy road shows enticing whole partnerships to take the bait, it may be time for partners to sit up and listen to how their actions now will shape the future of general practice for all of us.

Dr Eric Rose, a GP in Milton Keynes and former member of the GPC, wrote that purely on economic grounds partners are better value than salaried GPs (‘Advice on how to thrive',

Despite this there is little doubt that there are perceived financial enticements that are fuelling the change away from the traditional model of general practice.

But do we really want this move?


A recent survey in Pulse showed that continuity of care is valued by a large majority of general practitioners.

But continuity of care is being threatened by the rise in salaried GP posts.

With the potential 'retirement time bomb' almost upon us it must also be tempting for GPs nearing the end of their working lives to hand over the control of their practices to private companies at a price.

Dr Gerada warns of the 'diminution of the role that the GP plays in their community' as the traditional GP partner is lost.

This will no doubt affect the nature of general practice as a whole.

She has written a paper to the RCGP Council, which she says will form the basis of a College and GPC document to be published over the summer.

I applaud Dr Gerada for speaking up.

It is all very well highlighting the issue speaking as a salaried GP. But it is not until like-minded partners speak up, that General Practice as a whole will listen.

Dr Ruth Chapman is a salaried GP in south-west London.

Dr Ruth Chapman

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