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Family Doctor Association to close following ‘financial viability’ concerns

The Family Doctor Association, representing small GP practices, has announced it is to close because it is ‘not a financially viable entity in the long term’. 

The membership organisation, which has supported grassroots GPs and practices since 1985, said dwindling income from members – due to increasing number of GPs retiring and practices closing – was to blame.

It said there was a risk the charitable organisation would become insolvent later this year and so it agreed at a meeting last month to wind up the organisation, a decision that will be formally ratified in March.

In a statement issued by Family Doctor Association chairman and trustee Dr Peter Swinyard today, he described the association’s ‘deepest regret’ at having to close and not being a ‘financially viable entity in the long term’.

‘This decision was not made lightly. It is the duty of the charity trustees to ensure financial balance and probity; it is clear that, while not insolvent yet, there is risk we would become so later this year, ‘ said the statement, co-written by Dr Swinyard, vice chairman and trustee Dr Claire Rushton, treasurer and trustee Dr Rauf Kukaswadia, and trustee Dr Michael Taylor.

The four GPs said there had been a ‘disappointing response’ to raising subscription fees last year.

They said: ‘Traditionally, as a membership organisation, the bulk of our income has been from member subscriptions, topped up with commercial sponsors and some income from educational meetings.

‘These sources are drying up as the membership demographic shows increasing numbers of retirements and practice amalgamations and closures.’

The Family Doctor Association grew from its origins as the Small Practices Association, largely under the 26-year leadership of chief executive Moira Auchterlonie, who was praised by the trustees for her ‘energy, enthusiasm and amazing abilities’.