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Highs and lows: The first GP co-op

Dr Krishna Korlipara, a GP in Bolton, Lancashire, remembers the birth of the first GP co-operative

Until 1975 Bolton GPs used a commercial deputising service mainly staffed by hospital doctors.

The service was expensive to run and almost every night visit ended up as a re-visit by the patient's own GP following morning.

When I expressed concern about frequency of re-visits, I was told to leave the service if I didn't like it. That was the moment when I dreamed of an alternative service owned and run by local GPs so that we wouldn't have to depend on a commercial organisation.

In 1976 I called a general meeting of local GPs and presented my vision of a new non-profitmaking GP co-operative, entirely owned by the local GPs themselves. The first GP co-op in the UK was thus born on 1 January 1977, and led to the creation of 300 other GP co-ops - making National Association of GP Co-operatives a network of nearly 30,000 GPs...

Dr Krishna Korlipara