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Ask the experts: Should we recruit a partner or salaried GP?

Jenny Stone provides advice on replacing a partner in a cost-effective manner.

QUESTION: We are a practice of 9,400 patients. Until a few months ago, we had four partners: an eight-session partner, a seven- session partner and two six-session partners. We also had an eight-session salaried doctor.

Unfortunately, our salaried doctor left for a partnership elsewhere and our seven-session partner is moving to Australia in a few months’ time. We are therefore trying to decide how to move forward. Are you able to suggest how much salaried doctors are currently paid and whether, in the current GP climate, it is better – financially speaking - to employ a salaried doctor or a partner?

Are there any pitfalls you are aware of we should look out for?

ANSWER: The average sessional rate for a salaried GP is between £8,000 to £9,000 per session. As the employer, you will also have to pay employer’s National Insurance (13.8%) and also employer's pension (14%), so the actual cost to the practice will be £10,000 to £11,500 per session.

Whether you take on a salaried GP or partner will depend on your profits and, also, how the partners feel about the ever-increasing workload they are facing. In the past, if a partner left, practices would tend to replace with a salaried GP as it is the cheaper option, but with decreasing profits and increasing workload we are seeing a trend of practices choosing to take on a partner so that workload can be shared.

Your accountants would be able to prepare some projections for a salaried GP versus a partner, so that the remaining partners can see the impact on their income.

A job description for a salaried GP can be downloaded here.

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