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Independents' Day

Over half of GP partners would go salaried 'if offered the right deal'

Exclusive More than half of GP partners are willing to go salaried if offered the right deal, while only one in three said they would not consider it, a Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of over 500 GP partners also revealed dwindling faith in the future of the partnership model, with over half (54%) of respondents saying they do not expect it to survive 10 years and only one fifth (20%) saying they do.

This compared to Pulse's October 2015 survey, when 50% said they did not expect the independent contractor status to last, and 23% said they did.

GPs say decreased funding, increased demand, increased regulation and widespread recruitment problems have significantly reduced the appeal of partnership.

Dr Robert Addlestone, a GP partner in Leeds who responded to Pulse's survey, said he would consider going salaried because 'the burden of responsibility has become too much for partnership, continuity of care has almost disappeared, and privatisation is inevitable at some point over the next five years I believe'.

Among those who have already made the move, Dr Gill Breese, a GP in North Wales, told Pulse she would have liked to stay on as an independent contractor but that the situation has become unworkable.

She said: 'I was very sad to make the move but had no option for my long-term health. I am now glad I made the swap. There are many benefits to independent contractor status, but patnerships cannot continue in their current form.'

For Bristol GP and Pulse blogger Dr Shaba Nabi, the diminishing pay gap between partners and salaried GPs was also a factor.

She said: 'Although there is still a gap in pay between partnership and salaried roles, it is definitely decreasing.'

But Dr Imran Ghafoor, a GP partner in Manchester, said he would not consider it.

He said: 'I became a GP to become an independent practitioner and to be away from red tape and give the best possible care. It is a vocation, not a job.'

Dr David Coleman, a GP in Doncaster, took the same view, commenting: 'I enjoy the business aspects of the job and think I do a better job of managing the business for our patients than some remote management body could do.'

It comes as Pulse reported earlier this week that six GP practices in Gosport, Hampshire, have decided to take give up their independent contractor status, working under the local community trust. This is set to see around 20 partners becoming salaried.

Survey questions in full

Would you consider becoming a salaried GP if offered the right deal?

Yes - 51%

No - 36%

Don't know -13%

Do you think the partnership model of general practice will exist in 10 years?

Yes - 54%

No - 20%

Don't know - 26%

The survey was launched on 28 April 2016, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 24 questions covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. A total of 573 GP partners answered the first question above, while 906 GPs answered the second.

Readers' comments (19)

  • Of course independent contractors could be LLPs ot Ltds, so the death of partnership and the death of independent models are not quite the same thing - though it would probably result in sale of goodwill and the resulting consolidation into a small number of 'too big to fail' companies (you know, like banking) that the nation will have to bail out when it goes horribly wrong.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Look inevitable but I think the key argument here is ....the right deal......
    Make no mistake , this political earthquake is yet to complete its course......

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  • When like the Banks, they do fail, don't worry, friends in government will come to their rescue with bail out packages. Corruption stems from the top and it always begins with slogans like 'Provide world class care' - have heard that phrase from the mouth of every distinguished speaker in local meetings as if was a mantra chanting which would hypnotize the gp community into submission to the bigger plan. And where has this lead us to?
    I am for salaried too but as rightly pointed out ''if offered the right deal'' which is a relative term.

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  • PM 09.55

    But remember that at Present LLPs are not allowed entry to NHS Pension schemeand sale of goodwill is not permissable

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  • Paid holidays
    Sick pay
    Paid Study Leave
    All adequately remunerated
    Yes please

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  • err..too big to fail in the health world are called hospitals which is who I suspect are going to be running most practices in five years

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  • Disappointed that even a usually spot on Vinci fell for it.
    Project "salaried" is based on the existing successful model where FOUR mighty powerful PARTNERS run a practice with over 100,000 patients, employing salaried and locum doctors. The more partners are forced to become salaried, the larger the pool the Famous Four can choose from, thus suppressing their employee's earnings whilst at the same time seeing their own income rocketing.
    Fortunately for those of us who have no intention of falling into the trap, the Famous Four will ensure that GP partnership stays for ever.

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  • The famous four will be GP Head of LMC, GP Head of CCG and 2 other members of the CCG or LMC. Life's like that.
    No wonder they are pushing for hubs and shoving it where the sun don't shine.

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  • 27 Jun 2016 10:56am - key words - 'at present'.

    In theory you could outsource all your staff to an LLP/Ltd and transfer them under direction body status to keep them in the NHS pension, but prevent future staff from having it - creating a cost saving and reducing your risk.

    If you hold an APMS contract you can have NHSP and be either an LLP or a Ltd, and can then sell that body - essentially crystalising the goodwill.

    I fully expect the new 'voluntary contract' will allow a body corporate to hold the contract as per APMS, and therefore both of these will be resolved.

    Look carefully at the Pets@Home and SpecSavers models - this is where we are going.

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  • 27 Jun 2016 11:10am
    Yep. And ACOs/Verticle Integration are all about creating that market. Look at Ribera Salaud in Valencia, and the much lauded US ACO providers.

    Incidentally FT's can charge up to 49% of their activity as private. It appears that under a PACS model this would include Primary Care, which means existing legislation would allow the privatising two tier system to perpetuate. Now we just need enough of a collapse to rapidly consolidate the system into hospitals which can then rapidly privatise the profit and nationalise/co-pay & insure the costs. Someone who holds onto their equity is about to get very wealthy at our expense.

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