This site is intended for health professionals only


Partnership model may be ‘contributing to recruitment crisis’, suggest GP leaders



GP leaders will be voting on whether to explore alternatives to the partnership model at this weekend’s conference of Northern Irish LMCs.

The motion suggests that ‘the present GP partnership model may no longer be the preferred choice for a significant number of GPs’ and that it is therefore ‘contributing to the present recruitment crisis’.

Delegates at the conference will be asked to vote on examining alternative ways of being contracted to work in general practice as a way of boosting new recruits.

This includes proposals for newly qualified GPs to have the option to become associate or non-equity partners as an introductory step to signing up to a practice.

The news comes as the Welsh LMCs conference, which convened last weekend, voted for its Government to ‘make up its mind’ on its commitment to the GP partnership model and invest accordingly. 

The Government in England has said it is committed to the future of the model and Wessex LMC chief executive Dr Nigel Watson is leading an ongoing review into how it will be reinvigorated.

Dr Alan Stout will open the conference for the first time since becoming chair of the Northern Irish GP committee, after Dr Tom Black stepped down in September.

GPs at the conference will also call on the Northern Ireland Assembly to get their act together and form a Government so ‘dire waiting lists and health challenges’ can be addressed.

Representatives from Eastern LMC are set to tell the conference that the NI Assembly is ‘failing patients as a result of their abdication of their duty of political representation’.

In a motion to be voted on by conference, they state: ‘If the current stalemate continues this conference urges transfer of responsibility to those who can be accountable for executive decisions.’

Other topics under discussion at the meeting in Belfast on Saturday 17 November include the need to resolve premises issues which are ‘are rapidly becoming one of the most significant threats to the viability of practices’.

GP representatives will also be asked to vote on whether to adopt the Scottish model of loans for premises – an idea already put on the table by Dr Stout, and an idea which was adopted by the Welsh LMCs conference last weekend.

Meanwhile, GP out of hours is set to be a hot topic with members calling for more funding, better service design and that the public is made more aware of what the service is actually for.

Southern LMC wants the Department of Health needed to be more honest with patients.

Their motion proposes that a better informed public can provide would ‘empower the providers to provide a true emergency service rather than the current unstainable “come all convenience“ service’.

Other LMCs describe the current GP out-of-hours service as ‘dire’ and in ‘crisis’. 

England LMCs are meeting next week and will be debating whether GP practice patients lists should be capped at 1,500 and whether the GPC should negotiate a ‘wholesale’ new GMS contract.

Motions in full

Eastern LMC – That this conference accepts that the present GP Partnership model may no longer be the preferred choice for a significant number of GPs and is contributing to the present recruitment crisis. Conference instructs NIGPC to begin to examine alternative ways of being contracted to work in General Practice and therefore help recruitment to the profession.

Southern LMC – That this conference thinks newly-qualified GPs should have chances to become associate partners or non-equity partners as a way to introduce them to partnership. 

Eastern LMC – That this conference believes that the NI Assembly is failing patients as a result of their abdication of their duty of political representation. If the current stalemate continues this conference urges transfer of responsibility to those who can be accountable for executive decisions.

Eastern LMC – That this conference recognises that premises issues are rapidly becoming one of the most significant threats to the viability of practices going forward. It directs NIGPC to seek ways to:

i. Modernise the now badly outdated regulations

ii. In the absence of any current constructive help from DOH or HSCB, Conference instructs NIGPC to produce a credible plan for buying premises from retiring partners or third party landlords to avoid further practice collapses

iii. Aim to provide a primary care estate fit to deliver the multidisciplinary vision of the GP led review.

Western LMC That this conference calls on the department of health to adopt the Scottish scheme for optional purchase/buyback of GP Premises.

Eastern LMC – That this conference demands that DOH define the function of the GP OOH service, makes the public aware of its function, funds it adequately, and redesigns a service capable of fulfilling its function across the province.

Southern LMC – That this conference demands that the Department is honest with the public as to what we can provide with the OOH service and empower the providers to provide a true emergency service rather than the current unstainable “come all convenience” service.

Source: BMA