Mythbuster tackles common misconceptions about GP partnerships

GPs leading a review to revitalise the partnership model of general practice have produced a 'mythbuster' document that aims to tackle common misconceptions and help newly qualified GPs understand the role.

Mythbuster tackles concerns for younger GPs about partnership (Photo: iStock.com/SolStock)
Mythbuster tackles concerns for younger GPs about partnership (Photo: iStock.com/SolStock)

The mythbuster - published alongside an interim report on the GP partnership review - says that the partnership model of general practice is 'here to stay and offers unrivalled advantages in delivering patient care in an effective and cost-efficient way'.

It highlights autonomy and freedom to advocate for patients, the option to develop a varied portfolio career, stability, strong links to a community and continuity of care, freedom to innovate, to lead and to take on teaching roles as key benefits offered by taking on a partnership role.

Financial risks attached to partnership are explained, along with answers to questions about tax and profit sharing - including information on the share of profits new partners can expect.

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The report sets out premises options for partners - explaining key issues for partners who own their own premises and for those who rent, as well as explaining basic rules around rent reimbursement.

It also tackles concerns around 'last person standing' - a key factor raised by GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey in his speech at the BMA annual conference this summer. The document suggests clauses in partnership agreements to prevent partners leaving in quick succession as a potential way to limit partners' risk of finding themselves suddenly left carrying sole responsibility for a practice.

On a question about whether partnership is 'like a marriage', the document says: 'Your practice can be like a second family - it is a big commitment, but you also get out of it what you are prepared to put in. All practices have ups and downs, and relationships require time and investment.

Highs and lows

'It can be very rewarding as everyone is committed to the team - but you have to work through those highs and lows together like any family.'

Doctors considering joining a partnership should 'expect to be able to see their partnership accounts for the previous two years', find out how soon they would be need to build up working capital, and ask to see the current partnership agreement.

The document says that 'general practice will remain as the foundation of the NHS and a gateway into most NHS services', adding that 'the challenge will be in identifying how to best support the partnership model so that it can thrive within a rapidly changing landscape, without losing the current benefits in continuity of care and staff productivity'.

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