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Most GPs reluctant to abandon national contracts in favour of new care model

A majority of GP partners would be unwilling to ditch their national GP contract to join one of the new care models being pursued by NHS England.

This was the finding in a Nuffield Trust survey of 241 GP partners. In all, 53% were not willing to do so, compared with 27% who were willing. Some 14% said they were neither unwilling nor willing and 7% said they didn’t know.

According to the report, ‘the most common reason was that they did not want to lose control of their practice decision-making and leadership’ – a reason stated by 81% of GPs.

Other reasons included not wishing to lose flexibility (stated by 63% of GPs), continuity of care with patients (63%), and not wanting to go salaried (48%).

The think-tank also surveyed CCGs on whether they thought their member practices would be willing to give up contracts, concluding nearly half (46%) thought that less than a quarter of practices would be willing to do so.

The findings formed part of a Nuffield Trust study into GP collaborations, such as federations. It found that to date, 81% of GP practice-based respondents said they were working in some form of collaboration with other practices.

The think-tank also aimed to find out how these new federations felt they had been taken into account in the development of the wider new care models being planned by the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). Worryingly, they found that more than half of GP staff and one-third of CCGs felt they had ‘not been influential at all’ in shaping the plans.

Just one-fifth of GPs thought the STPs would meaningfully change primary care, compared with 61% of CCGs that thought this was probable. 

GP willingness to leave current GMS/PMS/APMS contracts

Very unwilling – 32%

Unwilling – 21%

Neither unwilling or willing – 14%

Willing – 18%

Very willing – 9%

Don’t know – 7%

Source: Nuffield Trust survey of 241 GP partners