Discussions around whether general practice should move away from the partnership model and towards a fully salaried service have contributed to the low morale in general practice, NHS England’s director of primary care said today.
Speaking at the NHS Confederation Expo conference in Liverpool, Dr Nikki Kanani said that a salaried model ‘is not going to be the answer for us to do the things that we want to do’, adding that the partnership model is ‘here to stay’ and is ‘core to general practice’,
Currently, around 47% of the GP workforce in England is sessional and Dr Kanani added that ‘every now and again, [a salaried service] is floated’.
Earlier this year, a report in the Times said that health secretary Sajid Javid was considering ‘nationalising’ general practice and reported he was looking into having hospital trusts running more GP practices.
A report by the Policy Exchange think-tank – for which Mr Javid wrote a foreword – recommended phasing out the GMS contract by 2030, with the majority of GPs being employed by trusts.
Meanwhile, a Pulse survey earlier this year revealed that four in ten GP partners were considering taking salaried roles.
Today, Dr Kanani was asked by journalist Andy Cowper: ‘In some policy quarters, there’s been support for GPs to move on to salaried status and move away from the independent contractor GMS classic contract. Do you think that has contributed to the current morale and situation of primary care?’
Dr Kanani said: ‘I think the conversation about whether partnership or salaried it is the right model has absolutely contributed to that morale.
‘I’m not speaking to anyone at the moment who thinks that partnership model is wrong.’
She added: ‘Every now and again, it’s floated. What’s the partnership model worth? Do we still need it? What does it do? The partnership model is absolutely core to British general practice and why British general practice does some incredible things.
‘It needs to evolve, absolutely, but the salaried model is not going to be the answer for us to do the things that we want to do.’
Yesterday, Mr Javid told the audience: ‘I’m grateful to all primary care staff who make a difference to millions of people every single day, but I don’t think our current model of primary care is working.
‘That won’t be a surprise to you. You know, and I think patients know, and everyone working in primary care. We need a plan for change. We’re starting with pharmacy, but I will be setting out my plan shortly.’