Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

RCGP chair denies suggesting GP partnership model is 'unfit for purpose'

The chair of the RCGP has denied saying the GP partnership model is 'unfit for purpose' after a House of Lords report used her words to justify a recommendation that ministers move towards a salaried service.

The House of Lords Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS published a landmark report earlier this month that concluded the 'small business model' of general practice was 'inhibiting change' and quoted RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard as saying that 'whilst personally I love the partnership-led model of general practice, I know it is not likely to be fit for the long-term future'.

Professor Stokes-Lampard was one of many expert witnesses reporting to the inquiry, which concluded that the traditional model of general practice is 'no longer fit for purpose' and the Government should explore a future where GPs are under its 'direct employment'.

Former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada also gave evidence on GP partnerships, where she explained how her London-based Hurley Group operates by having 'an overarching management structure with salaried doctors within it'.

Lord Patel, chair of the committee, a cross-bench peer and an obstetrician, said at the time of the report's publication that it was 'time to look at the way care is delivered'.

He added: 'This may well involve changing the model where GPs are self-employed small businesses. Delivering healthcare fit for the 21st century requires improvement in primary care to relieve pressure on hospitals. That change should be delivered by GPs.'

But the report's recommendations were met with a strong rebuttal from the RCGP, which said in a statement that the partnership model 'must be nurtured and maintained as an option going forward'.

After Pulse sought clarification from the college on its position, Professor Stokes-Lampard told Pulse that the college 'has never said' that partnership is unfit for purpose and that her comments should be seen in the context of the wider oral evidence made to the committee.

Professor Stokes-Lampard told Pulse in a statement: 'The College has never said that partnership is "unfit for purpose". We fully support the partnership model and believe that it is the bedrock of high quality family health care in the UK.'

She added: 'In my lengthy evidence to the House of Lords Committee on a wide range of issues affecting general practice, I made clear the benefits of the partnership model – but also the importance of flexibility in the way we work in our local communities.'

She said that 'as the landscape shifts', GPs will 'all need to consider other models of care provision, where appropriate, that are sustainable in the face of rising demand and an ageing population', adding: 'But as these models develop, we must also ensure that GP partnerships are able to adapt and remain sustainable.'

Professor Stokes-Lampard told Pulse that the RCGP 'will be responding to the House of Lords report and discussing the issue at RCGP Council in due course'.

Professor Gerada and the Hurley Group declined to comment.

Readers' comments (36)

  • So, Professor Stokes-Lampard told Pulse in a statement: 'The College has never said that partnership is "unfit for purpose"; but Professor Stokes-Lampard told The House of Lords Select Committee in a statement: 'I know it is not likely to be fit for the long-term future.'
    You cannot reconcile these statements.
    This meeting was more important than all the jolly 'meet and greets' she does and she got it badly wrong.
    I have finally resigned my RCGP membership in protest.
    RCGP council should have a vote of No Confidence.
    'Professor Gerada and the Hurley Group declined to comment' - is this a first? Perhaps they should have declined to comment to the House of Lords before stabbing the profession in the back.
    Make the Hurley Group GPs profit sharing partners or shareholders, them perhaps your actions might match your self-image. Otherwise stop presenting yourself as a Voice of the Profession.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ive resigned too

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I resigned years ago.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Have you really resigned a week after paying your annual subs? I think not...especially when the RCGP has stated it supports partnerships

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Its not the model that's wrong, its the funding. Fine, push us into a salaried model, but then acknowledge we do more than two sessions per day. Each day comprises of at least three sessions, given many of us regularly end up doing 8-8.

    When my hospital colleagues do this as a normal day they get time off elsewhere is the week. So where are all the doctors coming from to do the rest of the work? Or are the new wave of physician assistants and pharmacists in General Practice going to take our place????

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Cobblers

    Lightbulb moment. RCGP not fit for purpose!

    Wake up guys. The RCGP has been this way for decades. When I was looking for a partnership a long, long, time ago I replied to one advert which stated "MRCGP not required. In fact having one might be a disadvantage!"

    That fitted my ethos and then opinion that the RCGP was a self promoting useless waste of carbon. Over the last 30+ years the RCGP has worsened, if anything.

    Best thing you can do is cancel the subs and use the money for a nice long weekend somewhere warm with your nearest and dearest. Better payback too! :-)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • what a wonderful practice, seeing membership of a medical royal college being a disadvantage..presumably dinosaurs still roamed the earth.. and what did the Romans ever do for us?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Once upon a time RCGP was purely an educational establishment, ensuring quality standards in general practice. It then became heavily politicised, trying to fill the gap left by the consultant-led BMA, but also promote its own interests and its directors'.
    The rest is history (this is a rather flat entry as my legal adviser has sat on it - braver colleagues may wish to enrich it).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • shame on RCGP selling us to private sector

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    Take the point the college should be more academic for its nature. But it is about political wisdom and skill .
    Remember Lord Vader took advantage and exploited what Maureen said about the best time to be a GP in House of Commons?
    Another new chair , another comment to be exploited. Lesson not being learnt

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say

IMPORTANT: On Wednesday 7 December 2016, we implemented a new log in system, and if you have not updated your details you may experience difficulties logging in. Update your details here. Only GMC-registered doctors are able to comment on this site.