Exclusive At least six areas across England are moving towards mass salaried models replacing GP partnerships, while an increasing number of practices in Scotland and Wales are giving up their partnership status, Pulse can reveal.
A Pulse investigation into GPs going salaried found a number of areas where partners are giving up their practice contracts to work under hospital trusts, GP federations and the new models of care promoted by NHS England.
It comes after Pulse reported that more than half of GP partners would consider taking a salaried role if it was the right deal.
The GP partners moving to a salaried model cited workload pressures and fear of becoming ‘last man standing’.
Pulse has already reported that a majority of GP practices in Gosport, Hampshire have decided to take on a new employed status, working under the local community trust.
But the investigation has revealed that there are a number of areas where GP partners have been giving up their practices and working as salaried GPs under larger organisations.
- In Wolverhampton, where a pilot project will see a number of GP practices employed by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Hospitals Trust;
- A Hull local GP federation has taken over the running of two GP practices after approach from partners, who have stayed in post as salaried GPs;
- In Somerset, a new model of care run by the local trust may come to hold 10 practice contracts, employing the current partners
- In Sheffield this March, a mental health trust and a GP provider company won a bid for an APMS contract to run five GP practices, covering 21,500 patients with a new salaried service.
- In Wales, ten practices have been taken over by health boards, while another eight are at risk;
- In Scotland, practices are increasingly coming under health board control;
- NHS Humber Foundation Trust taking over the 9,500-patient Market Weighton Group Practice on 1 April, after being approached by practice partners due to PMS cuts and recruitment problems.
Dr Stuart Morgan, a senior partner at the Brune Practice in Gosport, wrote on his practice website: about why the practice partners were becoming salaried under Southern Health: ‘Coming from a historically low point, we are realistic about the help available to enable us to deliver the range and quality of care we desire to provide.
‘However, we are moving forward with cautious optimism. I remain determined to see this process through to completion – for you, for my colleagues, and for our superb team of staff – and to work with Southern Health to ensure a service for our patients that is both sustainable and continuously improving.’
Dr Julian Parkes, a GP who has become salaried under Royal Wolverhampton Trust, said making life more tolerable for GPs was a factor. He added: ‘We want to see a better service for patients and less stress for GPs. We have lost the grief of being a small business and issues with staff.’
In Scotland, GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt rolled back on his quotes last year that contract negotiations were looking at a model ‘as close to salaried as possible’ after a survey found 85% of GPs wanted to retain independent contractor status.
However, he added: ‘Salaried options will remain and are the current default if a practice becomes unsustainable but we believe the future is a strong, modern independent contractor GP model leading a broader primary health care team to better outcomes for patients.’
Pulse’s May survey of over 500 GP partners has revealed that a growing number are thinking along these lines.
It revealed that over half of partners in the UK (51%) would consider going salaried themselves, if presented with the right deal. Last October, just 26% of all GPs said they would support a fully salaried service.