The changing nature of running a GP practice, with all its pressures and complexities, means that most GP partnerships now recognise the need and benefit of having skilled managers supporting them.
Whether you’re in a GP partnership or a single hander running your own practice, there are likely to be times and situations that prompt you to re-evaluate your position. Maybe you find yourself facing challenging circumstances, such as a dispute, or financial pressures which are making the practice unprofitable. You may feel your individual risk is too great if you have an insufficient number of partners to share the burden, or you need to act now to avoid the ‘last man standing’ issue. It could also be that you’re planning to retire or simply just wish to make a change....
A GP practice may consider undergoing a ‘merger’ for a variety of different reasons. One common trigger is that a single-handed GP is looking to retire. Alternatively, two practices may be looking to join forces to save costs, share resources and provide new services. Historically, all such transactions have been referred to as ‘practice mergers’.
The pace of change in primary care has accelerated over the last few years and with so much going on it can be easy to forget to check you have the basics covered.
The Partnership is at the heart of most GP practices, and having a partnership deed that is up to date, valid and fit for purpose is vital if the interests of all partners are to be protected. Yet often a partnership deed may be forgotten, or only thought of, at times of major change or when a dispute arises.
Partner burnout is a growing problem for GPs – up to 50 percent are at high risk due to stress, high demands and funding cuts.
If you lease your surgery premises then the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (“L&TA”) is something that could affect you.
When you’re negotiating a lease for your GP practice it is important to ensure that you are aware of all the potential costs you may incur throughout your tenure - especially when you could be faced with bills running into many thousands of pounds.
In our recent blog, Where will future practice income come from?, we explained how additional income is unlikely to come from your core GMS/PMS contract. As a result, many GPs are looking to supplement their income from other sources; from their CCG, from the local authority or in other ways.
So how are you faring since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into force on 1 April 2013? After a stormy start (which included delays in contract payments for many practices and complications around the new rent reimbursement processes created by a change in landlord for those practices in NHS Property Services owned buildings) the dust has well and truly settled – leaving many GPs grappling to get onto the ‘GP Federation’ ladder in order to supplement their somewhat diminished income stream.
Many older partnership deeds include a compulsory retirement age for partners, often specified as aged 65. Should a GP wish to continue working beyond this age, annual written approval from the other partners is commonly required.
On the face of it, such a clause is discriminatory, in breach of the Equality Act, and therefore unenforceable. But if you are looking to include the clause in your current partnership deed, or if it is already in your deed and you are considering taking action to enforce it, what are the chances of success?