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Golden handshake scheme for new GP partners comes into force



The delayed ‘new to partnership’ golden handshake-style payment will become available to new GP partners from tomorrow.

NHS England said the scheme, which had been due to come in from April, gives eligible participants:

  • a sum of up to £20,000;
  • a contribution towards on-costs of up to £4,000 (for a full time participant) available to support establishment as a partner; and
  • up to £3,000 in a training fund to develop non-clinical partnership skills.

At the time of the GP contract deal, NHS England said the payment was uncapped, but formed part of a £94m cash injection to address recruitment and retention issues in general practice.

Further guidance which has now been published says that, to be eligible for the scheme, the new partner has to be a healthcare professional.

This excludes practice managers, which NHS England had previously said would be covered by the scheme, but Nursing in Practice‘s sister publication Pulse understands further discussions are pending on the topic.

To be eligible for the payment the new partner also has to:

  • never have held a GP partnership before;
  • hold a profit share in a legal partnership;
  • commit to remaining a partner in a GP practice for five years (or pay back some of the money);
  • deliver a mininum of two clinical sessions per week in their partnership practice;
  • have signed a partnership agreement on or after 1 April 2020 and before the end of the scheme;
  • have a minimum of two years remaining in their contract.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘This scheme, secured through negotiation with the BMA, shows faith in GPs and the partnership model – backed with additional investment – so that new partners can have the confidence in taking on this important role.

‘Of course, there are still wider issues facing partners – and influencing GPs’ decisions around becoming or remaining as partners themselves – that need urgent attention.’

He said this included ‘vastly cutting back on bureaucracy and regulation, and empowering GPs as leaders enabled to shape sustainable services with the necessary resources in their area’.

NHS England has published more guidance here.