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Partner-salaried divide 'undermines general practice' say influential researchers

By Lilian Anekwe

GP partners risk ‘undermining the ethos of general practice' by continuing to employ salaried GPs and treating them as second class citizens, according to new primary care research from the University of Manchester.

A qualitative study of 22 GPs' views, conducted by researchers from the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, found the increasing employment of salaried GPs had improved the working lives of GP principals and partners.

But it has also created divisions within the profession, with salaried GPs becoming ‘resentful of their role and status as second-class clinicians within the increasingly hierarchical world of primary care.'

‘Many of the salaried GPs felt disenfranchised and disillusioned by the difference in status and autonomy in decision making and the type of work they performed in the practice', the study published in the December issue of the British Journal of General Practice found.

Professor Helen Lester, lead researcher and professor of primary care at the University of Manchester, warned the divisions between GP partners and salaried GPs 'threaten to corrode primary care'.

She concluded: ‘By failing to recognise the problems of employing an increasingly disenfranchised salaried labour force, GP principals may be undermining the very ethos of general practice they otherwise advocate and recreating smaller versions of the private provider organisations they threaten to corrode NHS primary care.'

Professor Helen Lester, lead researcher and professor of primary care at the University of Manchester

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