Unless changes are made, the GP partnership model has no future, according to the final report of the GP Partnership Review. The document says opportunities to reduce risks and liabilities in general practice must be explored if the partnership model is to survive.
“The risks of being a partner are now considered by some GPs to be significantly greater than the benefits, particularly in relation to the unlimited liability of the basic partnership model,” it states.
It says: “The Government should introduce the option of GP partnerships holding a general medical services or personal medical services contract under a different legal model, such as limited liability partnerships and mutuals.”
The report cites seven recommendations towards making the partnership model sustainable. These include supporting practices by increasing the numbers of allied health professionals and the establishment of primary care networks. It also recommends making changes to medical education to put more focus on working in general practice.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Richard Vautrey, BMA’s GP committee chair, said: “The partnership model is the backbone of general practice and is what has given it its strength and resilience, providing the foundation to the NHS for the last 70 years. Thus, as has been noted time and time again, if general practice fails, the whole health service crumbles around it.
“This important report, and the support offered to it both by the health secretary and the chief executive of NHS England, provides clear backing at the highest level to the partnership model as the best way of delivering what most patients want, and that is good-quality continuity of care delivered by a locally-based team, embedded within their community, who they know and trust,” Dr Vautrey said.