Government review must revitalise incentives for GPs to become partners, says GPC

A government review of the GP partnership model must deliver incentives to keep existing partners in post and to persuade younger doctors to take on the role, BMA officials have warned.

GPC executive committee member Dr Farah Jameel wrote in an online update that the GPC was 'encouraged' by health secretary Jeremy Hunt's recent commitment to a joint review of GP partnerships.

Mr Hunt announced the review in parliament earlier this month. In response to a question from fellow Conservative Gary Streeter, the MP for South West Devon, Mr Hunt said: 'We are doing what we can to reinvigorate the partnership model. I have agreed with the RCGP and the BMA that we will carry out a formal review of how the partnership model needs to evolve in the modern NHS.'

The review comes as official data last week showed that general practice lost 700 partners in 2017 alone. GPonline reported last year that the profession lost almost 2,000 partners between September 2015 and September 2017.

Ms Jameel said this week: 'The BMA GPs committee (GPC) is now working to shape this review to ensure that everything possible is done to support and sustain the partnership model.

GP partners

'We believe that the partnership model, and the independent contractor status of general practice, is why patients consistently report their overwhelming support for GPs, and is the foundation on which the wider NHS can and does deliver clinically and cost-effective healthcare to the population.

'It is crucial that the review considers incentives for existing partners to stay in work longer as well as incentives for newly recruited GPs to become partners. It is crucial that disincentives to become a partner are removed by reducing risks, improving pay, managing workload and implementing training opportunities and partnership schemes.'

BMA calls for new partnership incentives echoes themes set out in a debate that will open next month's UK LMCs conference in Liverpool.

The first motion that will be debated at the conference says partnerships are 'the most efficient and cost-effective way of delivering general practice, and calls for 'an incentive scheme to encourage GPs into permanent roles', plans to keep older GPs in practice, and to encourage non-GP staff to become partners.

The BMA's Saving General Practice document also calls on the government to express an 'ongoing commitment to the national GMS contract and independent contractor status'.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey backed the review earlier this month.

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