Dr James Graham from Liverpool LMC argued that the independent contractor model of general practice ‘has been so eroded by the current contract and regulatory regime’ that it was time to establish a ‘fully-costed and salaried GP service’.
He said that a fully-salaried model could persuade more trainees to choose general practice as a career, and the GPC ‘should at least consider it as an option’.
But after a long debate, GPs overwhelmingly voted against the motion.
Salaried GP service
Dr Richard Claxton from Kent LMC spoke against a salaried service, warning: ‘I've worked both as a salaried GP and a partner, and both served me well at different stages of my life and career. For me though, partnership is the jewel in the crown of general practice.
‘I think we GPs need to send out a message that this isn’t up for debate, because even talking about it sends a message to junior doctors. We need an emphatic commitment to partnership going forward.’
Dr Thomas Kinloch spoke in favour. ‘Something has to change,’ he warned the conference. ‘Change is happening anyway, whether we like it or not. Where will David Cameron’s 5,000 new GPs come from? This motion makes us do nothing more than look carefully at the options.’
Leicestershire LMC’s Dr Anu Rao spoke against the motion. She said: ‘I personally became a GP because I bought into the ethos of partnership. I pride myself on being an independent contractor, because it gives me independence and strength to help patients.’
Dr Margaret Lupton, from the GPC sessional GPs committee, backed the call for GP leaders to investigate a move to a salaried service. She said: ‘You could argue that transition to a salaried workforce is already happening. The number of independent contractors is shrinking, and when I talk to many colleagues who are partners, there a great number who are fed up with hassle it involves. They just want to do the day job.’