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Oh Lord – why Darzi is missing the point



jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3×2

It’s hardly a surprise that a headline with ‘Lord Darzi’ – the former surgeon and health minister – and ‘salaried model’ attracts the ire of GPs.

Following on from his failed polyclinics of the previous decade, his latest idea is that all GPs should be offered the opportunity to become salaried to the NHS.

In a report for the Institute for Public Policy Research, he concludes that the independent contractor status has ‘put more pressure on GPs – to run a business as well as provide medical care – with levels of stress and dissatisfaction in the UK disproportionately high compared to other countries’.

The report then states: ‘More and more GPs do not want to become partners because of the levels of responsibility and financial risk involved in it as well as the geographical immobility it requires. Evidence suggests that many GPs would be open to moving to a salaried model.’

I don’t know whether Pulse should be flattered that the report’s evidence for this is one of our surveys from 2016.

But this is where his ideas fall down. The reason that our GP partner readers said they would take a salaried post if offered the right deal is not because of the ‘responsibility and risk involved’ inherent in partnerships – they went into partnerships, after all.

It’s because of the isolation they feel as GP numbers dwindle, which itself is a result of years of real-terms funding decreases, increased workload and increased regulation. Fix these and the majority would be delighted to remain as partners.

There is a real debate to be had over whether younger GPs will want to become partners in the future and how a future partnership model will look.

But, for current partners, it is not the model itself that is broken – it is the lack of resources. If he really wants to fix general practice, he should be lobbying for the profession to receive its fair share of the £20bn apparently stumped up by the Prime Minister.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse