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GPs vote to remain independent contractors



LMC leaders have voted against a motion suggesting all GPs become salaried, although a number of delegates voted in favour of the proposal.

The motion had suggested that the ‘model of the self-employed independent practitioner has been so eroded by the current contract and regulatory regime, that the GPC should be exploring the establishment of a fully costed and salaried GP service’.

Presenting the motion, Liverpool LMC vice chair Dr James Graham argued that although the model had served the profession well for a long time, the GP contract had now become so full of targets and practices riddled with so much regulation that the partnership prospect was no longer attractive to young doctors.

In addition, he argued, work was being transferred from secondary care, funding streams kept shifting and workforce planning has become difficult.

He said: ‘The work and time involved in running a small business and maintaining staff and premises detracts from the time we have to devote to our patients.

‘In many parts of the country there’s already a GP workforce crisis, with young doctors not opting to enter general practice and older doctors retiring early as this is becoming a job that we can no longer do long term or full time.’

He added that some areas ‘are already considering a salaried service through a local GP provider organisation or through the CCG’.

He said: ‘If a salaried service has the potential to alleviate some of the problems in primary care recruitment and retention then it is time for the GPC to at least explore the option.’

Speaking against the motion, Dr Rob Bailey, representing Cambridgeshire LMC, said: ‘Is that what you really what? I am a self-employed independent contractor. Yes it has been tough, and yes recruitment is harder than it has ever been.

But do I want to throw it all away and abandon the partnership model of general practice altogether? Do I want to work in a management-led rather than a GP-led organisation? The answer is no. Let us be clear. This is not something that we would ever have considered without the severe pressure we are being put under by Government.’

However responding to the debate, which saw a number of GPs speaking against the motion, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘I would like to see this motion not as an either or but as a motion that unifies the profession, so that we actually can provide two contractual options including partnerships, but also give real value to those who want to work differently, because this is a time when we must pull together as a profession.’

Motion in full

LIVERPOOL: That conference believes that the model of the self-employed independent practitioner has been so eroded by the current contract and regulatory regime, that the GPC should be exploring the establishment of a fully costed and salaried GP service.