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Whole town looking at employed model of general practice

Exclusive A town in the south of England could see its entire general practice population give up their independent contractor status and move to an employed model, Pulse has learnt.

GPs in Gosport, south Hampshire have approached the ‘new model of care’ provider in the region to give a presentation on how a salaried model could work for them, the GP lead has told Pulse.

Such a move could see a ‘significant reduction’ in the number of traditional practices in the area, he added.

GP leaders have warned that the new models of care could lead to practices being ‘devoured’ by hospitals.

The new models of care promoted by NHS England provide both primary and secondary care services.

The Better Local Care (South Hampshire) Multispecialty Community Provider (MCP) vanguard is being led by the local foundation trust.

Pulse has already reported two Gosport GP practices sought takeovers by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, after the workforce crisis left partners facing ‘physical and emotional collapse’.

But the GP lead of the South Hampshire MCP vanguardhas told Pulse the other nine practices in Gosport have asked for a presentation on how the new model could work for them.

Dr Donal Collins told Pulse that the model they were considering would deviate from traditional salaried model by setting a minimum earnings threshold and keep GPs invested in the practice, instead of punching in and out.

However, he also noted the move could see a significant reduction in the number of traditional GP practices in the area.

He said: ‘All the practices in Gosport have indicated they want us to present a detailed plan of the employed model for the whole area, what it would mean for them, and what it would mean for patients.’

This would be partly done through the MCP, which includes 30 GP practices, Southern Health and community providers.

And Dr Collins added the new model was already making a dent on workforce issues, with two newly qualified GPs from neighbouring Portsmouth approaching one of the Gosport practices asking to work In the vanguard.

He said: ‘Because it’s a bigger wider system, the younger guys coming in are finding it attractive… So for them it was part of being an employed salaried model, but not having the risks of taking on property ownership or leases. Property is a bit of a toxic thing.’

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs has confirmed that Gosport general practice is under immense pressure, but said ’about half the practices are exploring this option’.

What are the new models of care?

Simon Stevens - online

Simon Stevens – online

Nine hospitals and 14 GP-led bids were been given part of the £200m funding to provide integrated primary, secondary and social care, which will allow them to appoint GPs, as part of the the implementation of NHS chief executive Simon Stevens’ Five-Year Forward View.

The new models will employ a mix of primary and secondary care staff to deal with commonly encountered conditions such as diabetes, dementia and mental illness.

Some will see some employing ‘social prescribing teams’ who will be able to refer patients to voluntary organisations and local authority services.

Read more here