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How partnerships improve recruitment and retention in GP practices

By: Nav Chana | Post date: 20/12/2017 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018

With significant challenges around recruiting GPs, how would you articulate the benefits of being part of a GP organisation, working at scale to a prospective candidate?

Dr Nav Chana, Chair of the National Association of Primary Care, discusses how GP partnerships create new opportunities for GPs.


One of the biggest challenges facing the general practice workforce at the moment is recruiting newly trained GPs to want to spend a career working in general practice. Understandably at the moment, when we survey young doctors, and ask them what they would like to get out of future general practice, they’re looking for several things, one of which is flexibility in their working patterns. The other is actually having a variety of things that they do and the ability to work across different organisations in different settings and across bigger teams. And you can understand with all of the pressure at the moment in general practice and some of the very negative publicity, such as workforce crisis and those sorts of terms that are being put out in the media, that young doctors might be choosing alternative careers in different specialities rather than committing to a career in general practice. One of the solutions it to actually think about a group of practices working together so that we can build a greater team-based approach, greater skill mix around these young doctors so they can have the opportunity to experience different things, different clinical experiences across different settings, working across different provider organisations perhaps. And that can only happen when think about scaling up beyond individual GP practices. And we’re hearing of some great examples across the country whether you’re a super partnership, whether you’re a GP federation or whether you’re a small locally based integrated provider type organisation where these opportunities are being created and the recruitment into scaled up type primary care providers is much better than it would have been if it had been for each of those practices trying to recruit individually. So that’s a really important lesson to be learned. The second really important thing is retaining our existing GP workforce many of who are in their 50s and beyond are beginning to think of retirement if they haven’t already started to plan their retirement and that’s a really important resource that we shouldn’t be losing at this moment in time. So a lot of the reasons that GPs are citing to me about why they’re choosing early retirement is really significant workload pressure and loss of joy and satisfaction in the workplace. So when we look at what that actually means its actually not having a skill mix around these experienced doctors, not feeling fulfilled in the work that they do, and in part because a lot of their time is spent doing things they haven’t been trained to do or that they don’t enjoy doing. So again the answer around that is building a team-based approach, perhaps across a small group of practices to enable these doctors to be doing the sorts of things that they should be doing, that they feel empowered to be doing, that they have been trained to do, which gives them joy and motivation in the workplace, surrounded by a team of people to pick up all the other challenges we face in general practice.

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Nav Chana Medical Protection Expert

Nav Chana

Nav Chana is a GP at the Cricket Green Medical Practice, where he’s been practicing for 25 years. He’s also the chairman of the National Association of Primary Care where he co-led the development of the primary care home model, one of the New Care Model Programs endorsed by NHS England.

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