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The waiting game

UK's largest GP practice in talks to cover 400,000 patients

Exclusive The UK's largest superpractice could reach 400,000 patients by the end of October, according to its GP chair.

Our Health Partnership (OHP), which currently has 370,000 patients, is in discussion with a further four GP practices about joining the super-partnership.

Although it declined to name the practices during the merger talks, OHP said they were based in Birmingham and Shropshire, where it already operates 34 and six practices respectively.

The news comes as rival super-partnership Modality, which also started in the Midlands but now brands itself England's first 'national' superpractice, recently announced an expansion that will increase its patient list size to 380,000 this month.

OHP, which describes itself as ‘the largest GP partnership in the NHS’, currently has a total of 189 partners and covers 370,000 patients across Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Shropshire.

OHP chair Dr Vish Ratnasuriya told Pulse that with the four new practices, the partnership will have '200 partners and cover 400,000 patients'.

Like other practices that have joined OHP, the plan is for the four new practices to retain their existing contracts, with all of the practices' partners set to become partners of OHP upon joining.

All practices that join the partnership are required to have at least a 'good' CQC rating and pay a one-off joining fee in addition to an annual membership payment.

According to Dr Ratnasuriya, growing the partnership will allow general practice to 'continue to strengthen our voice and influence, so our GPs lead integration around our practices, rather than have it done to them' under NHS England's plans for 'at scale' general practice.

He said: ‘Our growth is infilling within our current regions, Birmingham and Shropshire. We believe GP partnerships at scale need to operate at many levels and this includes contributing to, if not leading, the place and integration agenda, so that general practice remains the foundation of any future local health system.’

NHS Shropshire CCG primary care director Nicky Wilde told Pulse that it 'has not received formal notification of any other Shropshire practices joining' OHP, but added that the CCG 'is working positively with those practices that are part of Our Health Partnership'.

Working at scale has long been an NHS England priority, despite research which suggests large-scale general practice doesn’t improve quality of care and actually leads to deterioration in patient satisfaction.

Readers' comments (18)

  • I’m sure NHS England will be pleased for these “top GPs” running this “superpractice”

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  • These Super practices are run by the same generation and type of person who is currently running the establishment.They have shown what they will do to individuals when the system fails.They will hung draw and quarter individual rather than take responsibility for their actions.Ala Charlie Massey and his lack of doing the descent thing with the Dr BG case.Join one of the 'super practices' run by 'top gps, at your peril you will have no control. I suspect a distinct lack of job satisfaction and professional autonomy.

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  • If I weren't working in an OHP partnership I am sure I would be totally behind all the comments I have read. As it happens I am - not really through my own volition but because of the concerns for the future of smaller practices amongst my younger partners.
    I can honestly say there has been very little change in the way we practice since joining OHP. We operate personal lists and are partner-heavy. We do not get instruction "from above."
    I am told that this is not the case with all "superpractices" but thought I needed to balance up the comments section a little (and perhaps I am the only one to do so with actual experience of how OHP operates.)

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  • A bit of a paradox here.
    All those who lamented the Death of the Partnership, gave up their practice and joined the Locum Squads that kill General Practice, are now attacking a practice with nearly 200 PARTNERS. Sour grapes, perhaps?

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  • RatherBeAGardener - a very positive comment - made me think!

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  • The super-practices are going to be caught out by the joint and several liability time-bomb be assured. They are still untested under partnership law and in the result of a big successful claim it will be curtains for the partnership whilst they sue each other to try and get money from each other - stay out!

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  • Evidence is required that "Super Practice" model or Partnership "at scale" is superior to usual model! Until proven advantages can be demonstrated this is just an experiment or pilot of a theory.Patient safety and satisfaction need to be Independantly Validated-Not by CQC inspection which may have a hidden agenda!

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  • Interesting that a large number of GP practices - right on the doorstep of OHP - are not signing up to the superpractice. Also a lot of rumour about financial problems, crisis funding from obscure sources and practices who want to get out. Too big to be allowed to fail? The plot thickens?

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