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Health secretary promises to cut GP bureaucracy

The ongoing review into the GP partnership model will be 'critical' and lead to a reduction in bureaucracy relating to paperwork and appraisals, the health secretary has said.

Speaking today at the Best Practice conference, organised by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), Matt Hancock said new models of organising practices, as well as embracing technology, would form components of reaching that goal.

But, also speaking at the conference, partnership review lead Dr Nigel Watson said 'discussions' about suitable models, especially which could reduce liability for GP partners, 'had not come to a conclusion'.

Mr Hancock said: 'I think that the partnership model review by Dr Watson is going to be a critical moment, as we look towards what is the future model for primary care. Not just an expanded workforce, as important as that is, but also with the support that makes GPs' lives easier too.'

He said he wanted the review to address the amount of time GPs 'spend doing paperwork', adding that a 'fully integrated and interoperable system' will 'remove the burden of bureaucracy'.

He said: 'I want to remove as much of the burden of bureaucracy as possible, and lift the burden of liability.'

This comes after the partnership review's interim report published earlier this month warned that GP workload is rising to the point where it ‘verging on unmanageable’ and may be putting patients at risk.

Mr Hancock suggested new ways of working, particularly highlighting 'John Lewis partnership-style mutuals' as well as the NAPC's Primary Care Home at-scale model of working, which he said that he 'loves'.

He said: 'Why shouldn't primary care practices be able to set themselves up as John Lewis partnership-style mutuals? I'm not wedded to any one model. And I want to be driven by the evidence, but I am attracted to a model that benefits primary care staff and patients. And I've seen primary care practices that blossomed under the Primary Care Home model... and other new more integrated models of care that are emerging.'

However, Dr Watson suggested to delegates at the conference that reducing partnership liability may come at the cost of having to give up their GMS contracts.

He said: 'The risks include premises and indemnity but there are other ones, so we are exploring other models. But I have to tell you today that the LLP - the limited liabiltity partnership - is not the panacea that people think it is.

'The regulation associated with it, the cost of being an LLP may be prohibitive.'

Adding that discussions on LLPs are ongoing, he added that 'as a profession [GPs] have to be slightly careful', as it's only under GMS that partners hold their contract 'in perpetuity', and only GPs are able to hold GMS contracts.

'If you go into full limited liability partnerships, then we open up the door, potentially, for others to come in.'

The House of Lords Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS published a report last year that said the traditional model of general practice was ‘no longer fit for purpose’ and the Government should explore a future where GPs are under its ‘direct employment’.

 

Readers' comments (13)

  • I'll believe it when I see it. Some suggestions:
    Not to send duplicate letters via email, tasks. Take away social problems like child protection from GPs-we cannot usually do anything about it.
    Scrap the QoF.Free GPs from GDPR (it is wasting our time and money and exposes us to unnecessary litigation allowing others to exploit us). Stop the CQC. It is telling us to remove blank prescriptions in case patients steal it like it is gold and to cut cords for blinds in case a child climbs over me, on to my desk and then onto the window ledge to hang themselves. There are zero incidences of either happening.
    Other countries do not have these ridiculous rules.

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  • Have heard this all before and every year more and more administration comes our way, it has never been cut and we always end up doing more for less. Must be time to jump ship soon

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  • Vinci Ho

    From another angle , while technocrats like to focus on the theory that the traditional model of general practice is no longer ‘ fit for purpose’ , how about saying the system(s) where NHS GPs serve to gatekeep is not fit for purpose instead ? Social care , CQC , GMC , secondary care referral system , appraisals, NHS property services , Capita and GP support services ,the list goes on .
    Why do GPs stand tall in all kinds of serveys despite having less and less resources in last 8 to 10 years austerity? All the leakings on the gate were not because the gate was not the ‘right’ gate from the outset, but instead , the result of incompetence of those who are supposed to control and divert the current and flooding .
    What we are seeing now with more domination by salaried , locums and portfolios is phenomenal but also consequential.
    We do not need more soul searching , Mr Hancock . You and your government do.

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  • Promises promises. Just do something. The review will come out, it will have some controversial elements which will be endlessly discussed, some money (less than required) will be found for yet more moronic working at scale but this will get held up by CCGs to further bale out secondary care.

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  • Cut App is being patented and will be bought by NHS for a £2 billion injection:)) just another stinking fart from disconnected politicians.

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  • Considering the bureaucracy we face comes from him and his department does this means he's resigned?

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  • Why all the cynicism, guys?

    Health secretaries are always true to their words. Remember Andrew Lansley and "No top-down reorganisation of the NHS"? Oh, um- let me have another think.Get back to you later.....

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  • Doctor McDoctor Face

    Health secretary promises that Giraffes will have shorter necks.

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  • He does talk like a twat. Time will tell.

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