The advantages and disadvantages of becoming a GP Partner
Advantages of becoming a GP partner
As a GP partner, you are both a primary care physician and a business owner. Although this means extra responsibilities and commitment, it also comes with benefits.
GP partners have a lot of control over their practice, how it is run, who it employs, what services it offers, and how it performs financially. Although this also entails a lot of managerial and administrative work, it means that you and your partners can shape the identity of your practice freely.
GP partners generally earn more than their salaried or locum colleagues, owing to the extra responsibilities they undertake.
The ‘New to GP partnership’
The scheme, which offers an incentive payment of up to £20,000 to new GP partners, who in return agree to work the minimum number of clinical sessions (two) per week for the next five years. A £3,000 training grant is also offered alongside this to help new GPs fund the training needed to develop their early partnership skills.
Stability for the doctors and the patients:
Most partners remain in their partnerships for a long time, some even stay in one partnership their entire career. This enables the partners to create an identity for the practice, hire and train a good, organised and synchronised team, and forge good relationships with their patients, who will also appreciate the continuity of care.
Opportunity to make a change in the specialty:
Because partners are independent general practitioners and take full responsibility for running their practice, they can truly advocate for their patients, and they can easily implement changes to their practice.
Disadvantages of becoming a GP partner
Although becoming a partner comes with many great benefits, it is also important to be aware of the downsides of the role to make a fully informed decision.
Level of commitment and liability:
Joining a partnership is a large time and financial commitment. Buying into a partnership is often costly, especially if the existing partners own the building where the practice is situated as then you will need to own a part of the building to become a full partner.
Additionally, as business owners, partners are liable for any losses, such as paying redundancy pay should there be the need to make some members of staff redundant or covering the remaining mortgages and other payments should one of the partners retire or resign. This can make leaving a partnership very difficult.
Full parity in a partnership means that all partners earn equal salaries. In some partnerships, you may have to wait for two or three before gaining full parity. The waiting time is mostly because new partners may not be able to contribute fully to all aspects of the practice right away. This is however becoming increasingly rare, with many partnerships offering full parity either immediately upon joining or after 12 months.
As a partner, you are not an employee and thus do not have automatic sick pay, holiday pay, or paid parental leave. Partners are self-employed, and it differs from one partnership to another whether they will offer these benefits or not, and in what amounts. This should all be stated in the partnership agreement which is specific for each partnership and must be agreed to by all partners.
Less clinical work:
GP partners often complete less clinical work than their salaried colleagues, mostly because administrative and managerial tasks associated with running a practice make up a proportion of a GP partner’s work.
When visiting and familiarising yourself with a practice, it is important to ask questions to find out more about how the partnership and the practice works.
Things to Consider:
- Do you like all the partners and there is there mutual respect in the partnership?
- How organised the practice is and what is their typical workload?
- The financial situation of the practice. How much would it cost to buy-in, and what their usual monthly/yearly drawings are?
During an interview for a GP partnership, there are three main areas you will be assessed on:
- Clinical skills
- Understanding of the primary care environment
- Managerial and leadership abilities and experience
In a partnership setting, the managerial and leadership aspect of your skill set is a lot more important than in a salaried position, so you should make sure you can talk about your managerial and leadership skills and support this with real-life examples and achievements.
Interviewers will also ask more detailed questions about the job and examine your understanding of the non-clinical responsibilities associated with being a GP partner. This includes matters like quality assurance and governance responsibilities.
GP Partnership Agreement
The GP partnership agreement is a document that is specific to each partnership, and it describes the following:
- The partners’ duties and responsibilities
- How decisions are made and how disputes between GP partners are resolved
- Outline of authority
- How the profits are shared
- How the capital income is distributed
- Holiday pay, sick pay, and paid parental leave entitlements for partners
- Resignation and retirement policy
- Grounds and policy for the expulsion of a partner
Menlo Park are market leaders in recruiting for both salaried and Partnership positions. If you are considering taking the next step in your career take a look at our website to view a selection of brilliant opportunities available in your area.
Our consultants will be happy to talk through your exact requirements and will be able to provide a full detailed explanation of any opportunities we are handling.
You are welcome to complete our contact form and we can arrange a time to call you. Complete our contact form here.