Partnership review 'optimistic and pragmatic' but needs the resources and workforce to deliver its recommendations

Publication date: 15 January 2019

Responding to the independent review into GP partnership, published today [Tuesday 15 January], Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The partnership model of general practice allows GPs to innovate in the best interests of our patients, it puts us at the centre of our communities, and it provides great value for money for the NHS.

“This review is a vote of confidence in GP partnerships and shows that they are an important and viable option for GPs at all stages of their careers, now and in the future – but there are clear challenges that must be addressed, and this review confronts some of the key issues as to why we are currently finding it more difficult to recruit GP partners. 

"We particularly welcome the focus on reducing unnecessary workload in general practice and increasing both the GP workforce, and the wider practice team.

"Workload in general practice has escalated in recent years both in terms of volume and complexity, and we are now making over a million patient consultations every day, yet we are doing this with a smaller share of the NHS budget than we had a decade ago, and fewer GPs than we did two years ago.

"Our members consistently tell us about the red tape they have to deal with daily that gets in the way of what matters – direct patient care. So, the report's recommendations to reduce the bureaucracy involved with CQC inspections, appraisal and revalidation and GDPR compliance - and to simplify and streamline the communication we have with colleagues across the NHS, must all be explored and implemented. 

"Ultimately, no model of general practice will be sustainable without sufficient numbers of GPs and our teams, so the recommendations to implement fellowships for newly qualified GPs, extend and enhance the GP retention scheme, and ensure the GP training budget reflects the true cost of delivering placements in general practice, are all also welcome – as is the recommendation to ensure the status of general practice by formally recognising it as a specialty.

"This report is optimistic and pragmatic – and has benefitted from being GP-led and having such rich GP input – but implementing the recommendations effectively will depend on having the funding and workforce to do so and hope the forthcoming workforce strategy will address this.

"We urgently need the promises made in NHS England's GP Forward View, for £2.5bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs – and a guarantee that our profession will receive a significant share of the funding outlined for primary and community care in the NHS long term plan – delivered in full and as a matter of urgency.

"We eagerly await the response of the Secretary of State and Simon Stevens to the review and detail about how they plan to take forward these recommendations."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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