We handed back our contract to NHS England last June. We had already been taking less drawings than the average GP, then when we went from a PMS to a GMS contract – seeing an increasing demand in both clinical and non-clinical work, as well as rapidly increasing expenses – the net result was working hours increased and drawings had to be reduced.
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We could not see a way to continue as we were. Being a small practice with a list size of just 2,000, we explored all options and when the CCG rejected our merger proposal – giving no reason – we had no choice but to resign our GMS contract. We were not identified as ‘vulnerable’. We hadn’t failed a CQC inspection and while we had some support from the CCG, we weren’t allowed to access the fund.
After the closure, we had to clear out our rented property as we were closing down, which meant selling on office and medical equipment like couches, ECG machine and nebulisers to raise money toward the costs of closure. We didn’t go bankrupt, but it was a tough time. I have had to cover my part of the shortfall with a personal loan.
Now I have a salaried job and earn much more per session, meaning I can work fewer hours for the same take-home pay and spend more time at home with my young family.
Dr Lars Grimstvedt was a partner at Studley Health Centre in Warwickshire, and is now a salaried GP in Worcestershire