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Majority of GPs in one town to become salaried working under local trust

Exclusive A majority of GP practices in one town have decided to take on a new employed status, working under the local community trust. 

As previously reported, all 11 practices in Gosport, south Hampshire, had been given the offer by the South Hampshire ‘multispecialty community provider’ (MCP) vanguard – part of NHS England’s plans for ‘new models of care’, designed to provide both primary and secondary care.

Six have now come back to say they would like to take up the offer, with the partners moving to an employed status under the MCP – which is run by the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust – and giving up their responsibilities for premises.

Out of the remaining five, four have said they want to retain their partnership status for now as ‘it is still working for them’, while one practice remains undecided.

But even the four practices that will not join the MCP on a salaried basis have declared that they want to form part of the MCP under the new voluntary contract being developed for implementation from next year.

Dr Donal Collins, GP lead of the South Hampshire MCP vanguard, said that even without the undecided practice, this meant at least 82,000 out of the area’s 86,000 patients would be covered by the MCP.

The idea to offer the employed partner status came about in a bid to ‘de-risk’ general practice, as Pulse reported before, amid dire problems with recruitment of GPs that was destabilising practices and putting partner earnings and assets at risk.

Dr Collins said: ‘We presented to the peninsula probably about six weeks ago the concept of an employed model, and so on Thursday we had a follow-up meeting where we asked them, having had some time to think about it, what do we do now.

‘Six of the practices on the peninsula said “we want to be fully in the employed model”, and four of the practices said that “we want to be fully involved in the MCP voluntary contract”, which will be probably ready to go from April next year.’

It is as yet undecided whether the MCP contract will sit on top of practices’ existing contracts or if it will replace them, so it may be possible for those four practices to retain their existing contracts.

The practices that are taking on the employed status will be working for the MCP as soon as their transition – which is already in progress – is complete.

The MCP contract was announced last year by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said it would ditch QOF and include a seven-day access requirement and the South Hampshire MCP will be one of six pilot areas to take it on in shadow form from next April.

The community, secondary and primary care joint models will be working with a registered list, under a population budget, and will receive funding in return for achieving predetermined outcomes.

Dr Collins said: ‘The only thing we know for definite about the MCP contract is that it needs to be built around a registered list, it needs to provide an extended primary care team with integrated care and it will be about seven-day primary care.’

He said there ‘probably will be add-ons to that around frailty, diabetes, mental health’ but that ‘the details are pretty sketchy at the moment’.