Is the future of the GP Federation model at risk?

There is increasing concern within the Pharma industry that GP federations are unlikely to survive the current NHS reforms and the move to Integrated Care Systems. The expectation is that the focus will shift to Primary Care Networks, leaving federations out in the cold.

So, where does that leave the industry? No one wants to waste time seeking out the right connections and effort developing relationships with an organisation whose future looks unstable. But just how significant is that risk? And what work can we do to mitigate that?

Some federations are thriving

There is no doubt some federations will fail, as they were not running services or supporting the Primary Care Networks development.  But many are thriving, and some run some large contracts, e.g. Extended Access (8 am-8 pm, 7 days a week), Out-of-Hours (when GP Practices are closed) or run sizeable bolt-on services. 

These successful federations are maximising the opportunities afforded to them and running highly effective business models that will make great customers for the industry to work with.

Still not convinced? Think about this. Who would pick up that work if the local GP federation was not there? Primary Care Networks are not legal entities, meaning the Member Practices would carry the risk of the contracts directly, unless they formed a legal entity. But then why would you do that when you already have a successful GP federation, which is likely to be part of the NHS Pension Scheme already and have all the systems in place for running the contracts successfully? 

If you look at some of the £multi-million businesses we work with in Newcastle, Hartlepool, Bath, Warwickshire, amongst others, there is no plan to scale down, but there is a lot of planning going on around them becoming bigger and offering more support to their Member Practices and the local Primary Care Networks.

Identify business-savvy federations

The secret to success is finding these thriving federations in the first place. It’s not always easy and can take a bit of research. I’ve put together a short video to help you get started with this. (Details to access this are at the end of this article.) In one of the examples in the recording, I highlight a company with a £23m turnover, that won’t simply fold and disappear.

The key to finding the right federation to work with – as we highlight in this article “How To Identify The Right GP Federations To Work With”  – is:

  • Identifying those who are business-ready, with the capacity and ability to take your project on
  • Discovering which organisations have a track record of high quality and consistent care delivered without unwarranted variation
  • Finding out who has delivered a quality service over several years

Answer the problems they face

They are out there. The challenge is in finding them and targeting them with the right messages that will engage them immediately and answer the problems they face. This means focussing on how they will be able to enjoy a reduction in workload and/or see a positive impact on the workforce when they work with you by using innovative solutions that reduce patient contacts with the system.

This is where a high quality and standardised complete pathway approach without unwarranted variation is the key. The pathways will then place the right patient, in the right place, at the right time, with the right healthcare professional and with the right resources to deliver the care required.

If you would like access to the short 6-minute video we’ve compiled on how to pinpoint the right PCN or GP Federation to target through Companies House, click here.

Scott McKenzie UK helps pharmaceutical, medical technology, and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision-makers. If you want to get your products fully embedded into treatment pathways, we can help you. We’ve doubled revenue for our clients and can share these processes with you too. Download your free guide: click here

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