Last week, this week and next week I have had and will have meetings with GPs (all unconnected I should say) who are looking to enter into merger arrangements. The first is to protect one of the parties from a persistent campaign from NHS England, (more about that in a later blog), the second is from a group looking to reduce the time spent on administration, and the third, a single handed practice where the GP is looking to reduce her workload.
The common thread is that all feel vulnerable, and are seeking the protection of a larger unit, and my experience is that is well founded. Size matters. The response from parties within the NHS who need to assist in the facilitation of these mergers have varied, from 'it’s impossible' to 'when would you like the merger to happen?'
It is possible, even for partnerships to have PMS, GMS and APMS contracts all under their control. The process involves reviewing finances, staff etc but it can, does and will happen
So, will these mergers be real mergers or takeovers? The process involves all parties becoming partners together, so my money is on a real merger.
- Laurence Slavin is a partner with Ramsay Brown and Partners Chartered Accountants who specialise in the finances of GPs.