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Gold, incentives and meh

Hospital in mass takeover of GP practices will soon have 70k patient list

Exclusive A hospital is soon set to provide GP services to a list of 70,000 patients, as almost 40 GP partners opt to become salaried for the trust.

The Royal Wolverhampton is planning to take over the running of five GP practices – which are as yet unnamed – in the next three months, employing all 17 partners as salaried doctors.

This comes after it already took on seven practices, and 20 partners, in April, under an open-ended pilot scheme to run GP services.

Local GP leaders said the GP partners were motivated by financial ‘non-viability’ and workforce shortages, with the move viewed as ‘handing over the problem to someone else’.

Speaking to Pulse, the hospital’s clinical director for primary care Dr Julian Parkes said the five practices would come under the trust ‘subject to satisfactory due diligence’.

He claimed the motivation behind the move was to ‘join up’ working between primary and secondary care doctors and community care.

He said: 'We all recognise that we cannot continue to work with the system as it exists now, as all areas are under a lot of pressure with rising healthcare needs.

'[This scheme] provides a way of taking resources in terms of money and staff and deploying them in a better way across the health community for the benefit of patient care.]'

But Dr Gurmit Mahay, medical secretary of Wolverhampton LMC, said the GP partners had been left with little choice but to give up their independent contractor status.

He said: ‘All of these practices seem to have some degree of either financial non-viability, [due to either] partnership dispute or chronic shortage of staff. So they see this as handing over the problem to somebody else.’

He added that the partners were also seeking a way of ‘getting rid of CQC and liability’, with the ‘salaried mentality’ allowing GPs ‘off the hook’ at the end of their shift.

However, Dr Mahay warned that this was ‘over optimistic’ and that the partners would put themselves at risk by giving up their GMS or PMS contracts, even with a right to return.

He said: ‘It may not be financially viable to come out in three years because the enhanced services won’t come out with them.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA's GP Committee, urged struggling practices in a similar position to attempt to 'retain their independence and their ability to manage their affairs' and 'without necessarily changing from their current contractual position'.

He said: 'For some practices that are really struggling – struggling to recruit, finding it difficult to manage their practice – having the support of a larger organisation can be beneficial but not for other practices.

'[But] we need to make sure that those practices who are moving in this direction have looked at all of the options available to them and make the decision in an informed way.'

Hospital takeovers of GP practices

Swathes of GP practices have been taken over by hospital trusts in the past year, as Pulse has reported:

Readers' comments (25)

  • This is a good step in the right direction

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  • I presume that their indemnity will be paid by their employer ie the trust and premises will be taken over /bought out. I'm afraid if not enough doctors are prepared to step up and become s partner this is what is inevitable.

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  • Interesting to know what terms they are employed as a salaried

    Is it satandard BMA model or different? Is time given for admin like consultants etc.

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  • I don't think I would blame the existing partners for making this decision. Nobody wants unlimited liability when faced with no succession plan.

    I just hope that they, as employees, fight for and get their appropriate working conditions. I.e. Correct breaks, sick leave, holiday entitlement and overtime pay/ can leave on time.

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  • This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

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  • Council of Despair

    this could be a way out for partners - off load financial risk (premises & staff) to hospitals - sign contract for salaried post then retire.

    don't blame them for reducing risk as i would do the same if i was in their position.

    not good for the long-term though but thats life.

    we've been abandoned and it's survival of the smartest now.

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  • Centralise, de-centralise, centralise...
    Plus ca change...

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  • no enough gps will replace these older gps who are joining the trusts due to salaried model- you will loose a lot in tax and the salary itseld isnt that great..the trusts will strugle and emply locums as they are doing in wales now .

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  • Cobblers

    DrDr 15/16 payments are indeed online. I suspect the RWT takeover postdates those figures.u

    That being said the payment per weighted patient for GMS patients looks like a median of about £125. Typically the two APMS practices have payments of £174 & £185.

    Level playing field it is not.

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  • I know no one will read this, but what's that creaking sound.. it's the sound of fracture lines opening up.. a chasm cutting across the heart of Wulfrunia .. lack of continuity.. job dissatisfaction.. recruitment problems . The end of this inglorious pipe dream cannot be far away
    You heard it hear first.

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