GP federations – how might they affect you?

18th March 2014 by Liz Densley

GP federations – how might they affect you?

There is plenty of debate about GP practices forming GP federations in order to create efficiencies, save costs and bid for extra services. Is this a threat or an opportunity to freelance GPs?

Taking the threats first:

  • Will GP federations lead to more ‘internal locums’ and less reliance on freelancers?
  • Will they encourage ‘floating’ salaried staff to cover needs of the whole federation?
  • Will they push costs down as they band together and decide what they are prepared to pay?

But the opportunities:

  • Will practices seek locums to cover the GPs who have found more lucrative services?
  • Will the provider role create GP vacancies that will not be filled by salaried staff or new partners because of the potential short term nature of contracts for new services?
  • Will a shortage of locums, if GPs are offering other services, push the price up for hiring locums?
  • Could locums band together to provide a federation wide service – perhaps trading some fee level for a minimum number of hours? (Would need to be at entity rather than individual level to avoid risk of deemed employment)
  • So does this mean that working formally as a GP locum chambers – or at least with some co-operation between locums – will be the way of the future?

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Dr Richard Smith, Suffolk

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