Proponents of a motion for GPC to explore ‘all options including movement away from independent contractor status’ said that many younger doctors preferred to be salaried than partners.
But following a lengthy debate delegates at the special LMCs conference in London voted against the motion.
‘Partnership has become unpopular,’ Oxfordshire LMCs’ Dr Paul Roblin said in favour. ‘Younger doctors are wary of seeking partnership, and older GPs are exiting the profession at a rate of knots I've never seen before in my life.’
But Kent LMC’s Dr Caroline Rickard spoke against. ‘I am 35, female, salaried and part time. I am a younger GP. According to the [national press], the collapse of general practice is my fault.
‘I want to be a partner, but I need the right partnership. My generation demand the same opportunities our predecessors had. Doctors will always go the extra mile for our patients –but this will be stifled in a contractor status.
‘If we hand control to private interests, we will lose a tradition and way of life – forever.’
Waltham Forest LMC’s Dr Elliot Singer cited results from a London HEE area survey of GP trainees. ‘Only 20% of people wanted partnership short term, but long-term – four-year plus – almost 60% of people want partnership.’
Dr Thomas Micklewright from the GPC trainee subcommittee also spoke in favour of the motion. He said: I'm afraid to say I have no intention in becoming a partner in my career – and neither do many of my contemporaries.
‘We don’t want 60-hour weeks balancing patient safety with the survival of our practice. Now is the time to explore a salaried service that still celebrates what make general practice great.’
Dr Marget Lupton from the GPC sessional committee described the ‘60-year model of independent businessmen GPs’ as ‘old-fashioned’.
Dr Donna Tooth, chairwoman of the GPC trainees subcommittee, said: ‘What I hear and I believe is right is that there is flexibility and there are options available to GPs and trainees.
‘And my concern with that wording is it is side-lining that option, which should remain a significant option to GPs.’