A final report has been published following an independent GP partnership review, led by Dr Nigel Watson. The review was launched in February 2018 to examine the challenges facing GP partnerships and make recommendations to help the model evolve for the benefit of primary care practitioners, patients, and the NHS as a whole.

In the report, Dr Watson explains that, while the partnership model has underpinned general practice, partnerships have become less popular with GPs. When discussing the challenges and concerns, it was found that GPs often ’do not feel valued as a profession‘, and that they ’feel workload is exceeding capacity‘. The report offers the view that the current model of the NHS is too dependent on hospital-based care and that ’we cannot move forward without change that includes general practice and partnerships at its heart.

To provide constructive feedback on how the Government, the NHS, and other stakeholders can contribute, the report makes seven key recommendations: 

  • reduce the personal risk and liability currently associated with GP partnerships
  • increase the number of GPs who work in practices and support the delivery of direct patient care
  • embed a range of healthcare professionals in general practice to support patients in the community
  • increase funding for GP training places with more time spent in general practice
  • establish sustainable Primary Care Networks that address workload and safe working capacity, while supporting continuity of quality care
  • general practice must have a strong, consistent, and fully representative voice at system level
  • take opportunities to improve efficiency through ensuring access to essential IT and innovative digital services.