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Partners lose faith in model salaried contract

By Nigel Praities

GP partners are losing faith in the BMA model contract for salaried GPs and are looking to alternative ways of employing GPs, a Pulse survey reveals.

In evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with the contract, the survey of 72 partners found 61% thought it should be revised to be more favourable to practices.

It also showed nearly half of practices would consider bypassing the contract altogether and employing GPs as fixed-share partners instead of offering a salaried contract.

The BMA has claimed employing salaried GPs on ‘less favourable terms' than the model contract could see PCTs cancel a practice's GMS contract - but few trusts contacted by Pulse had any record of salaried GP terms and conditions.

Most said it was a matter for individual practices.

The survey findings follow a furious row over salaried GP terms and conditions after a law company newsletter last week gave advice to practices on how to ‘escape the dreaded' BMA model contract.

Law for Business advised PMS practices to ignore the model contract and said GMS could avoid it by changing their contract with their PCT or using fixed-share partnerships.

The advice provoked a strong reaction from the BMA, which issued a point-by-point rebuttal, but our findings suggest the majority of partners do not support its position.

Dr Charles Alessi, a GP in Kingston, Surrey, said practices needed to look at new models of employing GPs, such as fixed-share partnerships: ‘The old model of partnership may well be time limited in this new world. Incoming doctors may not be willing to take on the financial risk of partnership as well as the financial penalties of taking on premises and infrastructure.'.

Dr Vijay Abrol, a single-handed GP in Birmingham who is looking to take on a salaried GP, said he had been forced to draw up his own contract because the one from the BMA was ‘very unsatisfactory'.

‘Nowhere is there mention of their commitment to the practice or quality of work. I went through my PCT's contract and that seems much more reasonable,' he said.

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a salaried GP in Cheshire and vice-chair of the GPC sessional committee, said despite the unrest over the contract he was not in favour of revising it.

‘It would create a real two-tier situation, creating such a structural tension in general practice that it could tear it apart,' he said.

Partners lose faith in model contract

Do you offer the model contract to your salaried GPs?
YES 77% NO 23%

Should BMA contract be revised to be more favourable to practices?
YES 61% NO 39%

Do you offer fixed-share partnerships?
YES 12% NO 88%

If not, would you consider offering fixed-share partnership instead of a salaried contract in the future?
YES 48% NO 52%

Dr Charles Alessi: practices need to look at new models of employing GPs, such as fixed-share partnerships Dr Charles Alessi: practices need to look at new models of employing GPs, such as fixed-share partnerships

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