LMCs demand statutory cap on liability for 'last partner standing'

Financial risks driving GPs out of partnership roles should be reduced with a statutory cap on liability and a revamp of the GMS contract, LMC leaders say.

BMA under pressure from GPs for contract change
BMA under pressure from GPs for contract change

The BMA will face calls at this month's England LMCs conference to negotiate contract changes that will 'reduce the inherent risks in the current partnership model that are alienating GPs and pushing experienced GPs into early retirement'.

A motion for debate at the conference on 23 November calls for GPC negotiators to secure a deal to 'introduce a form of limited liability into the partnership model' and a 'statutory cap to the liability which can befall a contractor who finds themselves in the position of being last partner standing'.

A recent GPonline survey found that more than half of partners and almost half of all GPs would support a move to allow limited liability partnerships to hold GP contracts, in a bid to reduce the risk of partnership for the profession.

Premises costs

Cambridgeshire LMC representatives proposing the motion will also call for full reimbursement of premises costs, along with contract clauses to make NHS England responsible for staff redundancy costs and for taking on premises leases if a practice is forced to close.

GPonline revealed earlier this year that general practice had lost 100 partners a month through the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year - and overall numbers of partners have dropped by more than 10% since 2015.

The LMCs conference will also feature a themed debate to inform the ongoing review of the GP partnership review, which is expected to deliver by the end of the year a final report outlining how the model can be revitalised.

Partnership

GPs will be asked to vote on four key questions on partnerships at the LMCs conference:

  • The partnership model: small, large or in networks, is the only model of primary care that the profession will support.
  • There should be financial incentives solely available to partners.
  • A funded training scheme for GPs wishing to become partners is essential.
  • An expanded multi-professional team will support GP partners, reducing the need for an increase in core GMS funding.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told the BMA annual conference earlier this year that 'the last person standing issue is fundamentally undermining the partnership model of working'.

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