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GPs go forth

LMCs must bring practices and would-be partners together

I write in support of Pulse's campaign to help practices in offering aspirant GPs partnerships as well as just salaried positions.

First though, we must remember it was GPs themselves who called for a range of contractual options in the BMA workforce survey that preceded the new contract.

We must recognise there are some GPs who actively seek a salaried option - often so they do not need to commit to capital expenditure in buying into the practice or take on the management responsibilities of running a business.

These doctors cannot expect their income to be as great as those who take on the extra responsibilities of partnership, but there should be opportunities for them as well as for partners.

But I believe those doctors who are prepared to take on the challenge and commitment of partnership should be offered them.

Times like these - when the incumbent Government seeks continual efficiency savings, GP incomes are falling and the Conservatives promise to renegotiate the GP contract - may not feel like the best environment to take on new partners.

But in fact this may be the time when they are needed most.

A partner can bring fresh energy, drive, ideas and entrepreneurial skills to help identify and secure income streams, efficiencies and quality improvements - and for those who seek this status

I feel they must be prepared to demonstrate some of this added value to practices.

I feel LMCs should broker local meetings between practices and aspirant GP partners to explore the needs of both parties.

But the market is king and for now there is a surplus of aspirant GPs and thus practices can and do offer salaried positions at lower income.

How long though, if they continue in this vein, before we return to the 2002 situation when practices could not find enough GPs to do the day job? Now at least they have the opportunity to choose and recruit the best.

From Dr David Jenner, PBC Federation lead, NHS Alliance, and a partner in a 10-partner practice in Devon, which employs one retired GP partner as a part-time salaried doctor

Dr David Jenner

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