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Federated model backed by Family Doctor Association

By Nigel Praities

The Family Doctor Association has backed a call from GP leaders to establish large-scale practice federations as a way of healing the salaried-partner divide.

The support from the FDA – which used to be known as the Small Practice Association – provides a significant fillip to the proposals, which the RCGP and BMA released last month.

Their joint document advocated a shift towards practice federations to counter the threat from the private sector and provide career opportunities for salaried GPs.

Under the plans, practices would come under a more corporate structure, with salaried GPs provided with a career ladder and new breed of ‘primary care directors' taking the lead in running and managing practices.

Dr Michael Taylor, national chair of the FDA, welcomed the publication of the document and said it should have gone further.

‘The document is timely and addresses current issues. I am happy with the conclusions, but it is a little bit tame for my liking. I would like to see a greater emphasis on serving the patient,' he said.

Dr Taylor did warn most GPs were suspicious of the federation idea and that predictions of the demise of partnerships within five years were premature.

‘When GPs see federations as a need they will react to it. I am quite certain that there are some back-office functions that could be shared at a cost saving. But it requires investment and I think that most GPs are reluctant to give that investment because they are uncertain of the benefits.'

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