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.