In early 2020, the BMA GP committee and NHS England/Improvement jointly agreed a new recruitment scheme initiative to increase the number of partners in general practice. The new to partnership scheme was launched in July 2020.
The scheme supports clinicians who are interested in becoming a practice partner.
The application process for the scheme can be complicated, so we’ve put together this guide to take you through it.
About the scheme
The scheme provides up to £20,000 as an incentive payment for new partners. In return, the partner agrees to provide a minimum number of clinical sessions per week for five years.
The minimum requirement is two sessions per week, with the funding increasing on a sliding scale. Additional funding is provided as a contribution toward the employer costs for this payment.
In addition, in the first year the new partner can access funding for business training to maximise their effectiveness in running a business.
You can read more about the scheme on the NHS England website.
Dr Samina Anane chaired a BMA's network of elected women seminar hearing from a panel of female doctors and leaders in primary care talk about their leadership journeys.
Practicing clinicians from the following professions are eligible:
- general practitioner
- nurse (including ANP)
- pharmacy technician
- occupational therapist
- mental health practitioner.
If you fall within the professions listed above and are interested in applying, you should read the new to partnership scheme guidance fully to understand the requirements. The basic eligibility criteria are:
- eligible to become a partner in general practice as set out at s86(2) of the NHS Act 2006
- registered with a professional body and delivering clinical care to patients through a GMS, PMS or AMPS contract
- must have a legally-liable, equity-share partnership agreement in place (after 1 April 2020)
- not been a GP partner in England before
- prepared to deliver at least two clinical sessions per week as a partner, for at least five years
- cannot be employed on a salaried basis within the same practice.
If you have a non-equity based probationary period you will be eligible for the scheme from the time you move to full equity partner, as long as your probationary period commenced after 1 April 2020.
If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, then ensure you know what the benefits are and what you need to do in return.
Before you start the application
You should either:
- be on your way to becoming a partner, or
- have become a partner within the last six months.
Make sure the other partners are aware of your plans to join the new to partnership scheme, and that they know that one of them will need to sign their support on the application form.
You will need also need to amend the partnership agreement after being admitted to the scheme to account for the funding transfer, so ensure your partners are aware of this.
It’s always sensible to read the application form in full before you start. Here is what you will need:
- your personal and professional details (for example practice details, GMC number)
- copy of the signed partnership agreement, or confirmation of joining the partnership from the practice, on headed paper
- for GMS and PMS contracts, NHSEI will confirm the contract type via existing routes
- for APMS contracts, a copy of the contract must be provided
Once you have all this in place completing the form should be simple.
Once you’ve submitted
Your application will be considered by the NHSEI team who will seek additional information from other sources if necessary (for example to confirm practice contract type etc). They may contact you for further information and you should respond promptly to ensure there are no delays.
If you are accepted onto the scheme, don’t forget to make the changes to the partnership agreement to account for the funding transfer and any repayment requirements (in the event that you have to leave the scheme early or change your clinical commitment).
Assess your learning needs and prepare a plan. This might include formal business training (making use of the £3,000 funding available through the scheme) and on the job training from other partners.