GPC to demand funding to boost practice partnerships

LMCs conference - Partnerships campaign l Patient survey appeals may be legal l Pension 'theft' warning.

LMCs threw out plans for a national campaign to boost the number and availability of GP partnerships after a tight vote at their conference in London last week.

Despite vociferous calls, GPs also failed by a wide margin to condemn the salaried doctor-partner split in the profession.

But delegates called on their negotiators to develop new contractual incentives to make it more attractive for practices to take on partners.

They backed a motion desc-ribing GP partnerships as the 'gold standard' and 'the only way of ensuring the future of high quality general practice'.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: 'We have to find a way of everyone adding one doctor to their establishment.

'The lost generation is a nightmare that is going to do us in,' he warned.

He promised that the negotiators would try to persuade the DoH to fund practices to take on more doctors.

Essex LMCs chief executive Dr Brian Balmer said NHS South West Essex 'is already trying to offer financial incentives' to practices to take on partners.

'The PCT is talking about preserving well-loved independent practices and improving opportunities for young doctors to go to areas where they might not otherwise choose,' he said.

Dr Richard van Mellaerts, City and East London LMC, said that partnership opportunities have become a 'fairy tale'.

Meanwhile, Cleveland LMC member Dr Rachel McMahon questioned the representation of sessional GPs at the LMCs conference. Speaking to a motion calling for a new GPC subcommittee for 'employed' doctors, she invited GPs in the hall to raise their voting cards if they were sessionals.

Few cards went up, and the motion was rejected.

LMCs did, however, back a motion calling on the DoH to legislate to guarantee all salaried doctors terms at least as good as the model contract.

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