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GPs ‘at mercy’ of private firms if partnership model collapses, says Nagpaul

GPs will be left at the ‘mercy’ of large commercial providers unless steps are taken to sustain the partnership model, Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said in his last speech as GPC chair.

Dr Nagpaul, who will take over as chair of BMA Council following the BMA’s annual meeting in Bournemouth this week, said that the ‘collapse of the partnership model’ would ‘sink the entire profession’.

He referenced Pulse’s investigation earlier this year around practice closures, and the ‘shrinking pool of partners’ as evidence of the state of the partnership model.

Dr Nagpaul told delegates at the BMA’s Annual Representatives Meeting today: ‘The GP workforce is particularly diverse with some 40% of GPs not covered by the national contract, with increasing numbers wanting to work as freelance locums, salaried, and portfolio roles.

‘Our recent GP survey showed that the shrinking pool of partners are reporting greatest levels of unmanageable workload compared to any other category of GP. It is vital we support each other as one GP profession, since if the partnership model collapses it will sink the entire profession in the process, with the risk that all GPs will in the future be at the mercy of working for large commercial providers, who are likely to have values and an ethos at odds to everything we stand for.’

In his speech, he also said:

Capita’s delivery of support services has ‘shamefully escaped the regulatory vilification that practices would receive from CQC inspections for a fraction of such shortcomings’;

The GPC is pushing for ‘tailored resilience support to be rapidly deployed to practices who are at their most vulnerable’;

The priority for the profession is to reduce the 25% of unnecessary GP appointments, which will be ‘far greater than the political mirage of 5,000 more GPs’;

NHS England’s GP Forward View was proving to be insufficient because it was ‘operating with a wholly inadequate NHS pot’

Readers' comments (5)

  • Cobblers

    Why?

    Clearly Nagpaul feels that the profession is overwhelmingly made up of passive sheep being herded to salaried serfdom with low pay and Ts&Cs.

    However if a small proportion of GPs acted with a modicum of business sense they will be able to market themselves and set their own pay rates and working conditions.

    It's the market innit?

    COI the GP market weather is currently warm and sunny and is likely to continue that way even with EU imports for the next 5-10 years.

    Here endeth the weather report.

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  • Anonymous Locum GP

    no,no and no

    if we were given plan B and left en masse like our dental colleagues we could continue independently and many locums would be happy to open their own surgeries with favourable t&cs but tying us to the 'NHS' contract as the GPC has done has caused the current mess we are in. An awful contract was agreed and partners are paying the price for it. If there was a decent contract do you think GPs would shun it for salaried or locum posts? The blame is with the negotiators. However, when called out the response is we did our best or this is all the government will offer or we must not fail the NHS etc etc

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  • The BMA has consistently failed to recommend, implement or investigate the private provision of NHS primary care services - and I suspect this is going to come back to bite it. It may even (paradoxically) make it more likely that primary care will be taken over by the big commercial firms, simply because it has failed to think through what a Plan B might look like.

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  • A virtual nobody

    Medical pay in the UK is not set by the market. It's set by the government because the government has a virtual monopoly. As long as the bulk of medical care is paid for directly by the government the government will continue to use every tool it has to suppress staffing cost and buck market forces. It's one of the central reasons the NHS exists, its way cheaper than a market based system. If/when we are forced en mass into a 100% employed salaried service and the independent contractor partnership model is finally put to death we will loose the last vestiges of control over pay and working conditions and the only way is down. I am not an expert on GP contracts but I can say anybody negotiating and agreeing to a contract that stipulates the kind of microscopic control general practice is currently subjected too is/was a blithering idiot as much responsible of the destruction of the partnership model as the government itself. This is not a good time to be working as a Doctor in the U.K. ...manager maybe, clinician certainly not. We are too valuable to be allowed to be anything but slaves.

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  • We need to privatise en mass. Freedom to prescribe and investigate as a professional should. The patient can be the limiting factor to curb demand.

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