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At the heart of general practice since 1960

LMCs draw up federation blueprint to protect against 'APMS-hungry PCTs'

By Lilian Anekwe

Londonwide LMCs are working on new plans to help practices group together into federations to avoid small practices being ‘picked off' by their PCTs.

Small practices in London are increasingly being forced either to close or to aggregate into groups of practices, according to Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage, and need to explore GP federations or risk being targeted for closure by trusts.

‘We are trying to advise practices that want to federate and offer a package of advice on how to do that, and promoting the fact that these can be done.

‘What practices don't have at the moment is a description of what federations should look like, in legal and financial terms.'

‘We're trying to offer practices a range of options that will help them move out of the target zone of being a small practice in the spotlight of the PCT for inappropriate reasons and toward something more appropriate.'

Dr Drage said Londonwide LMCs were also exploring ways of offering salaried and sessional GPs more career opportunities, and cited the Hurley Clinic – whose partners include RCGP vice chair Dr Clare Gerada – as an example of a practice offering an ‘intermediate partnership' that allows GPs to take a step up the career ladder.

GPs at the Hurley Clinic, in Kennington, south east London, can join the group as a stakeholder – helping to run the practice and keeping a share of the profits – while aspiring to become a full partner within the group itself.

‘The current model of partnership is not providing them with the autonomy that they seek and one of the things we are supportive of is providing career progression for salaried and sessional GPs who are looking for them,' said Dr Drage.

‘We are looking at how we can create career development opportunities without the millstone round doctors' necks of having to have equity and so on.'

‘It's overt, how practices are still being picked off because it does not fit the model. It will be important for small practices that when they come up for retirement they invest in the future rather than allowing themselves to be picked off by APMS-hungry PCTs.'

Dr Michelle Drage: 'We're trying to offer practices a range of options that will help them move out of the target zone of being a small practice in the spotlight of the PCT' Dr Michelle Drage: 'We're trying to offer practices a range of options that will help them move out of the target zone of being a small practice in the spotlight of the PCT'

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