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Non-GP partner

Q: Our practice manager would like to become a partner. Would she still qualify for an NHS pension as a partner? What factors do we need to consider to equate her current salary with a percentage of the profit? And what matters need to be covered by a practice agreement?

A: There is no fundamental reason for stopping the appointment of a non-medical partner to your practice. The practice agreement would need to cover all the usual aspects regarding expected rights, risks and res­ponsibility of being a partner including routine matters, such as holiday, sick and maternity leave arrangements.

A non-GP provider does still qualify for continuing service within the NHS pension scheme as a partner although they remain on the final salary scheme and do not move across to the GP provider career ave­rage earnings calculation of accrued pension entitlement.

You have rightly identified the major issue being how to quantify the relative profit share of a non-GP principal compared with the medical partners.

First, your practice manager must be completely happy that professional indemnity insurance does fully cover their change of status from employee to partner.

Your practice manager must also be willing to share in any cuts in profits that arise from contract changes such as red­uced fees and allowances or arising from you as medical partners deciding to put more profit into the provision of salaried or locum doctor assistance. 

There is also the aspect for any incoming partner to cover their share of the practice working capital.

We do not normally see non-GP principals having a profit share exceeding 50% of the general medical profits of a full-time GP partner.

Stuart Williamson

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