General practice is going to be staffed by salaried-only doctors rather than contractors in the future, according to a senior GP leader.
College of Medicine Chair and NHS England Advisor Dr Michael Dixon said that this will be because young doctors are no longer enthusiastic about taking up partnerships.
Dr Dixon, who was speaking at the Westminster Health Forum on primary care co-commissioning, believes that when GPs become salaried, it will not be beneficial for patients.
When the 160 attending delegates were polled, just four acknowledged that they have regular GPs. However, over 80 per cent confirmed that they would like to have a regular GP to consult and visit.
Dr Dixon stated that young doctors are not interested in becoming partners as they feel that they can earn more as salaried GPs. He also said that the security of a salary would allow them to opt for courses and enhance their education when they feel like it, and they would not be obliged to attend practice meetings.
Tilting the balance
Dr Dixon said that there is a good balance in primary care today, with GPs “running the show” whilst being “shackled” by NHS contracts and performance indicators that ensure that they do the NHS’s bidding. This method of working may not be the most lucrative for GPs, but it benefits patients. However, this could change in the future, and it would be detrimental to patients.
Dr Dixon also said that half of the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the UK have the responsibility to commission general practice in their areas. However, the handing over of this responsibility to the CCGs was done in a rushed manner, and this has led to some chaos as the CCGs have not received the right support from NHS England.