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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP practice taken over by trust to ensure its survival

An NHS foundation trust is taking over management of a GP practice because the partners have been unable to recruit enough GPs to ensure its survival.

Lister House surgery will be run by the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust from 1 August 2016, and will hope to benefit from the trust's ability to offer 'attractive' career prospects to trainees who will be able to work in a 'range of settings'.

The practice may also have to close its branch surgery, it said, as the owner of the premises is looking to sell.

It comes as Pulse has reported on a number of trusts taking over practices, with many of the partners becoming salaried employees.

The Lister House practice said in a joint statement with the trust on the practice website that the partners will remain in their roles, but any departures would be replaced by a director of the trust. 

The statement said: 'A number of the current GP partners are leaving or retiring and the practice has not been able to recruit new GPs to ensure the practice can continue.

'As a large, county-wide NHS trust, and one which provides a wide range of services, they can offer GP recruits a range of roles across a variety of settings. The trust has already advertised nationallyand received a very good response.

'The trust is convinced that this could be attractive to newly qualified GPs wanting to increase their experience and boost their career or to experienced GPs looking for a new challenge.'

However, there are fears that the branch surgery may close as, according to the practice website, ‘the building’s owners intend to sell the Milverton surgery'. According to the statement ‘one option is that all services will be delivered from Wiveliscombe with improved transport being provided to support access. Local people will be consulted before there is any change to current arrangements'.

The trust runs community health, mental health and learning disability services and the practice and trust say they hope that 'patients will have access to a wider range of services at the surgery'.

This comes as Pulse has reported that GPs in Somerset and throughout the country are handing their contracts to trusts and carrying on as salaried GPs.  

In south Somerset, 10 practice contracts could come to be held by the local trust, with the current partners becoming salaried GPs.

Elsewhere, in Wolverhampton, a few GP practices will be employed by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Hospitals Trust while a mental health trust and GP provider company in Sheffield won a bid for an APMS contract to run five GP practices. 

Readers' comments (10)

  • John Glasspool

    Great! Salaried role: duvet days, take a sickie with a nasty cold. The Trust gets nasty with you about it, you go off with a "stress related illness" and when they sack you, you take them to the cleaners for constructive dismissal. Yup, I could like with that- for the right sort of money of course.

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  • Demise of Partnerships

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  • A couple of things that will be obvious to many partners here:

    1 - The closing of the branch surgery is pretty convenient for the hospital. Branch surgeries are expensive to run and cause particular problems with staff numbers are dropping. I suspect the GP partners asked if they could close the branch surgery and were told no. Why is it suddenly acceptable now that the surgery is run by the hospital? Surely they should find another nearby site to provide the services from?

    2 - The contract will change from a (likely) GMS to an APMS contract. Can NHSE confirm that the hospital's contract will not be any more lucrative than the GPs contract (I suspect they will be paid more). If not, why were the GP partners not offered the same kind of support when they needed it.

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  • It is sad that DOH has let general practice get to this state. Having a generation of salaried docs sitting in a dermatology clinic for 2 days/week is not a good foundation for a sustainable and cost-effective primary care service.

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  • Maybe, just maybe, this is a little bit of payback for the (let's be brutally honest) many GPs who have used the 'independent' label to avoid cooperating with areas such as prescribing reduction schemes, referral reductions and such like in the face of rising and unsustainable costs - because if you are employed then you have to abide by the rules of your employer.
    For example, the argument that 'it's my clinical judgement' surely isn't good enough to justify branded / specials prescribing when it has been shown there is other cost effective, efficatious alternatives.
    Don't misunderstand me - I am not in favour of any of the current impositions on general practice or the perilous state many practices are finding themselves in - it is, after all, my livelihood too - but a little soul searching undertaken within an LMC meeting recently seemed to bring about a recognition at least that GPs are a difficult group to work with and even more so when looking to reach agreement on more standardised patterns of working.
    A single profession surely cannot sustain such variable levels of practice and expect to be left to carry on like that - can it ??

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  • its a myth that APMS contracts are great compared with GMS. They have much tighter management by NHSE and are 3-5 years so a very short time to recover the upfront costs - which are always high even if you avoid a tender.

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  • The mistake the founding fathers of the NHS made was not to Nationalise GP's. They thought people will be so well they won't need a GP and they would wither and die as a profession. 90% of NHS contacts are in primary care for less than 10%(not sure of number could have made it up like everyone else). It is a false economy to salary GP's as John Glasspool rightly points out. In partnerships going off sick puts so much pressure on the others and takes money out of profit to backfill so people don't. I'm not criticizing salaried doctors but there is a different priority as a partner. I met one who said in his partnership the only acceptable certificate to miss work was a death one!! What needs to happen is a sense check with the public about what their GP is for and how much they are willing to fund it. Cutting the rewards means people vote with their feet and the world renowned British primary care will disappear into accountable care organisations driven by financial targets and not care.

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  • 6% in NI. Was 11% in 2004. [ NIGPC report few weeks ago]. Almost a 50% cut with a 50% increase in contacts.
    Obviously cherished and nurtured and valued by the DOH.
    We are mugs. But Practice managers think and the rest of the country [ starting with the DM] think we had it coming.
    So it is time to leave. They can manage without us I am sure.

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  • I do not agree with Anonymous Practice Manager, ( dated 21/07/16). All GPs run their practices efficiently, otherwise they would go bankrupt .Regarding prescribing generic against branded drugs, all CCGs, LHBs and other general practice authorities, all over the UK, have influenced and convinced at least 90% of GPs to change their habits to prescribe generically. So, Trust takeover will not reduce costs. The cost of administering general practice through a trust will be astronomical mainly due to inherent inefficiencies
    that a large organisation has. Furthermore, most Trusts in the UK are in debt, Many reorganisations later, they are still in debt. This the reason hospitals wish to dump their work onto GPs. Now there will be no dumping ground left.
    If the powers that be do not realise this,( penny wise and pound foolish),there is nothing GPs can do but wish them good luck. GP's incomes will drop but, better a live rat than a dead lion.

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  • I agree you will find the cost easily doubles.
    A friend has taken over 3 practices and guess what ....
    Ccg have paid 3 times the contract rate each time and paid for refurbishment.
    We get nothing and for years have saved over 2 million if you add reduced prescribing and referrals . We are low earners and small but our survey ratings all are in the high 96-98 % satisfaction .
    All the big practices get plush refurbishments and over £150 per patient.,nearly double
    We work 8-7.30 daily

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