This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

GPs go forth

It’s not up to GPs to sort out national recruitment problems

Editor’s blog

I had a double take when I saw that line in the NHS England board paper: 'Through the network contract, we have given the independent contractor model a major shot in the arm.

'It is now down to PCNs to decide their own long-term future: take responsibility for securing a new generation of partners, or by default (rather than choice) become salaried to other NHS providers.'

It may well have been a case of an overeager junior civil servant, and a line that slipped through the net. But, otherwise, this was a shocking statement that amounted to: ‘We’ve done our bit, and if partnership recruitment doesn’t improve, that’s the fault of the networks.'

I just hope these words aren’t NHS England’s way of passing on its responsibility

If this is truly the attitude then I fear the implications. Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s director of primary care, has rightly said on a number of occasions that the new contract is only the first step to sort out the workload and workforce issues in general practice.

There are numerous structural reasons why younger GPs don’t want to become partners, chiefly workload. But this network contract, for its positives, does very little to cut workload, provide incentives to take on partnerships or provide the shot in the arm that will really work: a huge influx of new GPs.

It is not up to GPs to provide answers to recruitment problems, which goes hand-in-hand with saving the partnership model. I just hope these words aren’t NHS England’s way of passing on its responsibility.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at

Rate this article  (4.95 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (13)

  • It is well understood by Kings Fund/ Nuffield Trust/ GPs that NHSE and DoH do not understand primary care. But DoH does understand how to offload risk and responsibility. Only without the authority and funding the 'offload' is cosmetic. I note that DoH are also experts at spin. Style over substance does not seem to bother them.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Food stamps will solve the problem though!:

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Individuals are personally responsible for their own health and adults are responsible for their dependents.
    NHS England and HMG created the GP contract and are responsible for it’s success/failure.
    Attempting to dump this recruitment/retention challenge on GP practice is cowardly/weak!
    Not impressed by this attempt at devolving responsibility!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say