There is currently much discussion about whether the partnership model for General Practice is still fit for purpose. It is clear that the model is under severe strain, and the Secretary of State has commissioned a review into how it might need to evolve. In this blog we draw on our experience of working with over 1,000 practices to offer our thoughts on the future of the partnership model.
A partner is a business owner and employer, which by definition means they are not an employee. As a consequence, partners do not benefit from all the various employment protections afforded to employees. Despite this, we are often asked about partner entitlements, particularly regarding maternity and childcare.
Every now and then, a practice might be fortunate enough to be remembered in a patient’s Will or to receive gifts from grateful patients. Research has shown that the proffering of small gifts is relatively common place. Whilst it is obviously nice to be recognised for one’s good work, it does give rise to a number of professional and legal issues.
GP practices and salaried GPs are advised to check the terms of their employment contracts if employed clinical staff are considering taking out “claims made” insurance, such as that recently offered by the MDU.
Regular readers will understand the importance of keeping your partnership deed up to date. This is particularly true when new partners join, as this can easily supersede and invalidate the former partnership arrangements. A recent High Court case has demonstrated some of the risks.
If you rent your premises, one of the key questions is when and how you can be released from your obligations under the lease. If for some reason you want to vacate your surgery premises, you will either have to wait until the end of the lease term, or rely on a break clause. It is, therefore, an important point to consider in the lease negotiation process.
Despite increasing pressure being placed on frontline care teams, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed that GP practices are providing a consistently good quality of care, with 93% rated good or outstanding.
Making the decision to expel a partner is never an easy one and the reasons for doing so will vary widely.
Some situations will be straightforward. A partner may, for example, be found to be in clear breach of the partnership deed if there is an issue of gross misconduct. Unfortunately, less clear-cut circumstances are more common, such as a personality clash that is causing disfunction within the partnership and preventing it from operating effectively.
In these instances, a ‘green socks’ clause could be the answer. But can they be relied upon in practice?
This blog post was updated on Jan 11, 2018
The Secretary of State recently announced some planned changes to the medical indemnity scheme. The plans are still in the early stages and not expected to be implemented for at least 12 to 18 months, but it seems clear that the state will be playing a larger role in medical defence insurance in future, which should hopefully assist in controlling the spiralling costs.
As Primary Care changes, we are frequently asked about different business vehicles and in particular whether a GP practice can have limited liability. Choosing the right type of business vehicle for your GP practice is not always straightforward, and managing risk is likely to factor highly in the decision making process.