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Partnerships could introduce ‘attractive features’ of locum model, says review



The Government’s partnership review will look at how to reduce premises liabilities and how GP partners can work more like sessionals, its call for evidence has revealed.

The review, which is being led by Wessex LMC chair Dr Nigel Watson, will look at issues including workload, workforce, the role of general practice, the business model and next steps – and is asking GPs to submit feedback.

It sets out a number of ‘key questions’, including what general practice can ‘learn from other industries and sectors who operate in a partnership model’; what ‘local examples of good practice’ could be shared more widely; and what role that ‘digital technology and data’ could play in ‘supporting’ the partnership model.

It also asks what GPs feel are the ‘biggest burdens’ in terms of workload; what are the ‘barriers and motivations’ to entering partnership; and how ‘attractive features’ of salaried and locum GP roles could be ‘introduced into the partnership model to make it more attractive’.

On premises, it asks: ‘Is there a way to limit the risk to partnerships holding a long term lease? How can the risk of owning a practice building be reduced?’

The review will also look at reducing ‘the personal risk of employing staff, vicarious liability, and personal name and shaming of a GP’. And it will ask what are the barriers to GMS and PMS contracts being held by a limited liability partnership (LLP).

Dr Watson said: ‘The review will examine the challenges facing the partnership model and consider how best to reinvigorate and equip it to help lead the transformation of general practice for the future. It is an honour and privilege to take on this role; however I do not underestimate the enormity of the task ahead…

‘I strongly believe that the partnership model of general practice has not reached the end of the road. It predates the NHS and has evolved to support changing population needs, and will do so in the future. However, it is important to recognise that this model is not the only way to deliver care.’

Dr Watson said he will be ‘travelling around the country meeting GPs and front line staff, practice managers, patients and others, to seek their opinions and collect views on what works and what doesn’t work’ over the next ‘couple of months’.

He added: ‘I would encourage you to consider the key lines of enquiry and submit your views, or to come and meet us at one of our LMC events. It’s our future; and it is up to us to shape it.’

Dr Watson will be publishing an interim report ‘in the autumn’ and will report back to health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens ‘at the end of the year’.

Key questions include

  • What are the features of other GP career models (e.g. locum, salaried GP) that are attractive to GPs? How could some of these features be introduced into the partnership model to make it more attractive?
  • Why is there currently a barrier to a practice contract (GMS or PMS) being held by a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)?
  • Is there a way to limit the risk to partnerships holding a long term lease? How can the risk of owning a practice building be reduced?
  • How can we reduce the personal risk of employing staff, vicarious liability, and personal name and shaming of a GP (rather than the organisation as would happen with a hospital) following adverse Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports or other incidents?

Read all the key questions here