General practitioner GP practices England Northern Ireland Wales

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GP networks and federations

An increasing number of GP practices are considering entering into some kind of collaborative arrangement with other practices.

GP networks go by many names: federations, networks, collaborations, joint ventures, alliances. These terms are often used interchangeably to describe multiple practices coming together in some form of collaboration.

Whether the desire to work more collaboratively or at greater scale is driven by the desire to share costs and resources (for instance, workforce or facilities) or as a vehicle to bid for enhanced services contracts, GP networks and federations are increasingly being viewed as a vital part of the future of general practice.

GPC has produced guidance for those practices interested in establishing or joining a GP network. This ranges from information on the types of legal structures commonly used, to principles that should be considered when forming a network.


Guidance for GP networks

GPC have produced helpful guidance on the following topics:

This guidance mainly applies to practices in England, but the principles of collaborative networks can also be applied across the UK. The RCGP has also produced a supporting federations webpage, which you may also find of some interest.

The General Practitioners Committee (GPC) does not endorse or support any specific model, but is merely highlighting the different ways that GPs can and do organise themselves.

Please note: The contents of this document and any advice generated by the GPC of the BMA are for reference purposes only. Specific legal and financial advice about your individual circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on any advice generated via this document.


GPs may also find the following web pages useful:

The current and forthcoming pressures facing primary care
Essential components for collaboration
Benefits to patients and practices
Legal pros and cons
Other research and information
Appointment pooling schemes and Hub systems (case study)