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`Majority’ of GPs will not be running small businesses in five years’ time

The majority of GPs will not directly run the practices in which they work in five years’ time, an NHS workforce and policy expert has predicted.

Dr Pat Oakley, teaching and research fellow at King’s College London, who is taking part in the Pulse Live Big Discussion in Birmingham on May 1, told Pulse: `There will be a migration over the next five years to salaried practice, or working in super-partnerships or joint venture businesses, that will gather pace and intensity. The workforce is changing and many GPs do not want the financial or bureaucratic burden of running a small business. ’ She said the pattern would vary in different areas of the country depending on the age profile of GPs and other environmental factors.

The Big Discussion on the role of general practice in the NHS of the future will be chaired by Professor David Haslam, chair designate of NICE and former president of the RCGP. The panel will include Dr Oakley, chair of the Commons health select committee Stephen Dorrell MP, and Cambridge GP Dr Simon Poole, who is deputy chair of the GPC’s commissioning and service development subcommittee.

Dr Poole told Pulse that international studies have repeatedly demonstrated the value of UK primary care and called for flexibility for the future. He said: `In the aftermath of the Francis report, general practice needs to be flexible and imaginative in dealing with the changing
demands of the NHS, yet also needs to continue to provide compassionate, high-quality, patient-centred care, whilst finding the strength and leadership to reject the imposition of central, target-driven reforms which in some circumstances have the capacity to
undermine best professional care. ‘

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