Intended for healthcare professionals


Revitalising the GP partnership model

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 10 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3485
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The chair of the government’s GP partnership review tells Gareth Iacobucci how he hopes to reverse the rapid decline in GP principals

“I don’t think we’ve reached the point where it would benefit patients, GPs, or the system for us to move to a salaried model,” says Nigel Watson, the GP leader appointed by the government1 to chair its independent review of the GP partnership model.

This was also the view of the erstwhile health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who ordered the review earlier this year in response to growing concerns about the rapid decline in the number of GP partners.

The figures are stark. Almost 2000 partners were lost between 2015 and 2017, while the number of GPs working as locums almost doubled.2 In this same period, the proportion of GPs who are partners fell from 59% to 54%.

“If this trend carries on it’s a disaster for the profession because there won’t be any partners left to run partnerships,” warns Watson. “The partnership model still has a lot to offer but it needs revitalising.”

Watson agreed to chair the review when it was made clear that his remit was to reinvigorate and not replace the partnership model. In a call for evidence3 published in May, the health department set out the key lines of enquiry as workload, workforce, the role of general practice in the local healthcare system, …

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