GPs demand incentives for partnerships

GP leaders in Scotland have called for talks with the government on contractual incentives for practices to take on more partners.

Dr Marshall: Incentives could include money for practices that take on new partners
Dr Marshall: Incentives could include money for practices that take on new partners

GPC Scotland said GPs were ‘unanimously' concerned about the trend of decreasing partnership opportunities across the UK.

A GPC Scotland report launched this week, General practice in Scotland: the way ahead, calls for partnerships to be ‘promoted as the best model for delivering continuity of care, flexibility... and the strategic development of the practice'.

The report also warns that the lack partnership is restricting GPs' career choices, and is ‘damaging' for the long-term future of the profession. It said contractual incentives could be used to encourage practices to appoint partners.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of GPC Scotland, suggested incentives could include money given to practices that take on new partners, continuing ‘golden hellos', as well as ensuring practices are informed of their long-term funding allocations.

‘This is not just about new money. Allowing practices to know what their funding is likely to be over a five-year period, rather than renegotiating the contract every few years, will allow practices to take on partners instead of filling in with locums,' he said.

The report also called for the Scottish government to introduce measures to improve the retention of GPs in areas with the poorest health outcomes, often deprived areas.

‘We are suggesting a variety of things to ensure doctors working in difficult  circumstances are supported through various measures, such as extra staff, financial support or sabbaticals,'  Dr Marshall said.

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