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GP partnerships ‘very much alive’ despite CCG’s moves towards salaried model, local leaders say

The independent GP contractor model is ‘very much alive’ under the GMS and PMS contracts in Hull, the LMC has said, despite the local CCG saying its ‘ultimate aim’ was to move to a ‘completely salaried model’.

Dr Russell Walshaw, chief executive of the Humberside group of LMCs, said the news of NHS Hull CCG’s plans had caused ‘consternation’ amongst GPs, but said ultimately the CCG was not in a position to ‘persuade or force’ practices to become salaried.

The CCG had said it was in talks over different models of general practice, partly in response to a recruitment crisis that has led to it offering a package to new GPs that includes sponsoring academic research.

The chief officer of NHS Hull CCG had told Pulse that it could not force GPs to become salaried, but it was looking at making the salaried model more attractive to attract more younger doctors.

Dr Walshaw said the LMC was ‘aware’ that the CCG was looking at different models of care.

He said: ‘Basically, the aim of the CCG is to provide the same quality wherever you happen to go in the city, and I think that’s very laudable. But the approach that they seem to be taking is to have a salaried service, presumably from one organisation.

‘Well that has caused some consternation with a number of GPs, and raised a number of comments on the Pulse website.’

He added: ‘From the LMC’s point of view, we don’t actually mind what sort of contract a GP wishes to hold […] but I think the important point is that the independent contractor status is still very much alive under the GMS and PMS contracts.

‘So I’m not sure that the Hull CCG is in a position to persuade or force doctors to change, because they’re not contract holders and they can’t terminate GMS contracts.’

NHS Hull CCG chief officer Emma Latimer told Pulse that they were ‘not expecting all GPs to want this’ but that they were developing salaried posts because they understood ‘any alternative has to be attractive enough for people to want to get involved.’

She added: ‘GPs’ employers could could be a social enterprise, they could be a hospital, they could be a GP consortium or federation or a social enterprise. It won’t be the CCG, because we’re not into provision.’

The CCG has been looking to fill nine salaried GP positions, which offered time off and funding to complete a masters or PhD in areas like public health or to undertake CCG work.

The recruitment round of recruitment to fill nine salaried positions closed on Sunday after the application deadline was extended.

A spokesperson for Hull CCG told Pulse: ‘We have had a positive response to the Hull 2020 GP recruitment scheme advert posted in the British Medical Journal, and we are currently evaluating options to strengthen the on-going campaign.

‘The first priority is to consult with our Programme Board partners on next steps for our current applicants and for our on-going recruitment strategy for 2015-16.’