GP Partnership Model

In February 2018, the then secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, committed to an independent review of the GP Partnership model, to consider how it needs to evolve to meet the needs of modern NHS. The independent review is currently ongoing and is being led by Dr Nigel Watson. In October, Dr Watson, published his interim report that sets out a number of key areas of concern following consultation with GP’s across the Country. We have reviewed the report and summarised some of its findings below.

Is the current GP Model in decline?

Earlier this year a GPOnline poll found that “only one in five GPs say a partnership role is currently the most attractive career option in general practice”. In addition, in autumn 2017, official data from NHS Digital revealed a loss of some 2,000 partners (8% of the total) in the two years of September 2017. Then just last month, the chair of RCGP acknowledged that the model is no longer working in certain parts of the country and that alternative ways of delivering healthcare would have to be found. These are definite concerns about the future of the partnership model for GP practices.

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GPs premises liabilities and reducing risk

  • Recent survey suggests 54% of GPs do not want to own their premises now or in the future and one in three reports suggest that their practice premises have not been updated in more than a decade.
  • The burden of ownership on GPs is putting them off becoming partners in practice.
  • Last man standing; crippling service changes, premises utilisation and funding premises so they are “fit for purpose” are all key issues
  • GP practices have struggled to access funding available through the ETTF funding to expand or improve their premises.

Ahead of the publication of the final review report (which is expected “early in 2019”) and the corresponding GP Premises Review also currently ongoing, we take a closer look at the key issues associated with owning and managing GP premises that have been so far highlighted by these reviews.

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Author: Stewart Gregory, Partner, Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP