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Nearly 40% of trainees intend to take on partnerships within five years

Exclusive Around 40% of GP trainees intend to take on a partnership within five years of qualification, with only one in ten ruling it out at any point, a major Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of 310 trainees – the first conducted by the magazine, conducted to launch a special trainees’ month – also reveals that many respondents want to combine partnerships with other roles, including working in academia, the military, CCGs, occupational health, or even tech start-up companies.

However, one in five trainees also said they are considering leaving UK general practice within five years, predominantly to work overseas, but also to change specialty or leave medicine altogether.

The figures on partnerships follow warnings around the future of the independent contractor model.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard told a committee of peers this year that: ‘While personally I love the partnership-led model of general practice, I know it is not likely to be fit for the long-term future.’

A survey by Pulse earlier this year found that that only one in five though the independent contractor model would still exist in ten years’ time, echoing comments made in 2014 by former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada and former NHS England deputy medical director Dr Mike Bewick.

But Pulse’s survey reveals that partnership remains a viable option for almost half of GP trainees. The results showed that:

  • 20% cited partnership as their only career goal within five years of qualifying, while 20% said this would be either in combination with other roles, or they were still considering a sessional role;
  • 4% said that one year after qualifying, they were only considering becoming a partner, while another 10% said they were considering partnership and other roles;
  • 14% said they were planning on having left the country, with another 5% considering leaving general practice, medicine altogether or working in non-GP roles;
  • When asked what changes would make them more likely to consider a partnership role, 60% said limits on workload, closely followed by less financial risk and more business training;
  • Only 11% said they would never consider a partnership role, regardless of any changes.

Dr Donna Tooth, former chair of the GPC’s GP trainees subcommittee, said she would like a partnership, but envisages combining this with working on a disability tribunal.

She said: ‘I think newly qualified GPs will be more attracted to partnership if it’s as part of a portfolio career. I think a partnership may not in itself be sufficient for the new generation, who will want a reduced number of sessions with more time exploring other interests.’

Dr Samira Anane, current chair of the GP trainees subcommittee, said: Partnership is not dead and a significant proportion of trainees continue to be interested in becoming partners, but not necessarily straight after CCT.

‘In general practice we have a long history of portfolio careers for GPs of all backgrounds, irrespective of their contractual status. The changing landscape means that these opportunities are increasing all the time.’

what trainees expect to be doing piechart 290x385px

what trainees expect to be doing piechart 290x385px

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what trainees expect to be doing 5years piechart 290x385px


Source: The survey was launched on 30 June, collecting responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 18 questions asked covered a wide range of GP trainee topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for £200 worth of pizza as an incentive to complete the survey. The answers for career intentions from one and five years from qualification were based on an analysis by Pulse. Respondents were allowed to pick more than one option for ease