New ‘John Lewis-style’ GP chain caps partners earnings to boost staff pay

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Herald

A chain of GP practices which offers staff John Lewis-style benefits has launched across Scotland, The Herald reports.

So far five sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Lothian have become part of the Barclay Medical Practice group, overseen by a Glasgow doctor and his practice manager.

Dr Des Spence and Kim McWilliams, who ran two surgeries in Glasgow, created the network after taking over surgeries which were on the verge of collapse.

All the surgeries are signed up to the same charter, offering patients rapid appointments with all children seen that day. Longer opening hours, including Saturday mornings, are also being brought in and patients at the Barclay Medical Practice also benefit from extra practice staff such as physiotherapists and mental health counsellors to fast-track their access to treatment without relying on hospital waiting lists. It also directly employs a paramedic to undertake house calls.

The amount of money GP partners can draw from the surgeries has been capped and staff, including receptionists, receive a share of the profits, similar to the retailer John Lewis where all employees receive the same percentage of their salary as an annual bonus.

In addition, Barclay Medical Practice refuses to deal with drug company representatives and to take private medical work.

Dr Spence, 50, said: “Our aspiration is to become like a social enterprise, a bit like John Lewis. Ultimately it all belongs to the staff, including receptionists and nursing staff.”

It comes as the profession struggles with a recruitment crisis and an increase in practices being taken over by health boards as GP partners pull out.

Dr Spence added: “There is a very distinct narrative in general practice right at the moment that everything is doom and gloom and it is failing.

“There is no doubt there are pressures. I wrote about these things for a long time and then saw there is an opportunity.”

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