According to the think-tank Policy Exchange, GPs should relinquish their independent partnership status to work as salaried GPs for integrated care organisations (ICOs).
The Policy Exchange has suggested that partnered GPs be paid for the ‘goodwill’ of their practices, which are currently valued at £160,000, in order to work for ICOs, in a bid to encourage “competitive integration” in the NHS.
At the moment the Department of Health is running integrated health pilots at 16 sites in England but the Policy Exchange’s report encourages them to bring together primary, community and acute NHS services together with a single budget for purchase and provision.
The report recommends a pilot programme of ten full-scale ICOs covering a population of around 250,000 each, but also warns that bringing GPs into ICOs was one of the major financial and legal hurdles given that they are essentially private contractors to the NHS.
The report goes on to state that it would ‘cost the Government nothing’ to let GPs to trade the goodwill of their surgeries, which is something that would currently be against the law. It also notes that salaried GPs might be attracted to work for an ICO by bringing their salaries more in line with their partnered colleagues.
It concludes that many GPs currently practising under a partnership model might be encouraged to work on a salaried basis for the integrated care organisation, with the “price” for relinquishing their independent partnership status being the value tied up in the goodwill of their practice lists.’
However, Deputy Chairman of the General Practitioners’ Committee (GPC), Dr Richard Vautrey has said that the GPC would oppose any such change, as it would “mark an end to general practice as we know it”.
As an accountant; David Jacobs offers a range of accounting, audit and taxation advice to the legal and medical professions.