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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)

  • Having the local hospital run some practices but not others, may make the others look less attractive to patients. The hospital trust will be under pressure to offer patients priority for secondary care if the trust runs their general practice.
    So the hospital had better make it attractive for the other practices to join in. Perhaps they could offer the GPs family-practice consultant status, with clinical responsibilities in triage and intermediate care, and offer physiotherapists, counsellors and clinical psychologists sessions in practices to reduce demand on GP time.

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  • GPC have negotiated us such a poor contract that our independent practices are no longer viable in a market where we have unlimited work and very limited supply of skilled workers. the best option for GP's as individuals is to become salaried so that you can ensure your income and loose your liabilities. imagine coming to work where someone is responsible for ensuring your workload is manageable and being sure that you will get paid a certain salary each year. mmm wonder what to do???
    larger organisations will be more successful at negotiating a viable contract for GP and if it actually costs them more to deliver services than they are given, YOU don't earn less, the trust accrues a deficit and the government miraculously pays it off. come on guys what are you waiting for!

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  • Does anyone know the actual figure they are being paid?!

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  • Look at the bright side. If all GPs become Trust's employees, there will be no need to have a CCG, saving millions for the NHS, or an LMC, saving hundreds of thousands for the GPs. Quite tempting really, if nothing else to bring back to the front line our remote "leaders" currently impersonating commissioners and guardians of the profession.

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  • Andrew Bamji is correct! Area Health Authorities were the template 35 years ago!

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