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£20k GP partnership scheme open to pharmacists is launched


By Sofia Lind and Isabel Shaw

30 Jun 2020

The delayed ‘new to partnership’ golden handshake-style payment will become available to new GP partners from tomorrow.

NHS England said the scheme, which had been due to come in from April, gives eligible participants:

  • a sum of up to £20,000;
  • a contribution towards on-costs of up to £4,000 (for a full time participant) available to support establishment as a partner; and
  • up to £3,000 in a training fund to develop non-clinical partnership skills.

At the time of the GP contract deal, NHS England said the payment was uncapped, but formed part of a £94m cash injection to address recruitment and retention issues in general practice.

Further guidance which has now been published says that, to be eligible for the scheme, the new partner has to:

  • be a healthcare professional;
  • never have held a GP partnership before;
  • hold a profit share in a legal partnership;
  • commit to remaining a partner in a GP practice for five years (or pay back some of the money);
  • deliver a mininum of two clinical sessions per week in their partnership practice;
  • have signed a partnership agreement on or after 1 April 2020 and before the end of the scheme;
  • have a minimum of two years remaining in their contract.

There is a concern that the new scheme could leave community pharmacies understaffed and increase pressure on other staff. 

Speaking to The Pharmacist back in February, community pharmacist at Copes Pharmacy in Sutton, Ash Soni, warned that community pharmacy risks losing highly skilled pharmacists to general practice.

He said: ‘General practice pharmacists who are not offered partnerships may go looking for partnerships in other pharmacies. The practice could then look to community pharmacy to find their new recruit.

‘This will pull people out of the community pharmacy setting. There is then a risk of destabilising community pharmacy.

‘Practices could take the most highly qualified pharmacists from community pharmacy, leaving the community pharmacy workforce less capable than before.’

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