Super practices are coming…

Do you have one eye on the future, looking towards the development of super practices?

We provide an overview of the concept behind super practices, what this could mean for you, and offer insight into the support available now. 

Super practices are designed to support and encourage GP practices to work together, and to share resources, service provisions and collaborate – all to help drive overall efficiency. And, there are some notable examples appearing across the country where practices are successfully doing just this – productively sharing service delivery in core areas including urgent care, extended access and wider service provision.

The GP Forward View, suggests that a move to super practices will see the transfer of around 8,500 practices to around 1,500 hubs or super practices, each delivering care for populations of around 30,000 to 50,000 patients. These super practices will all share resource and expertise at scale, and provide one voice to represent them all.

This, of course, does not preclude these super practices from going on to join the local GP Federation. Indeed, we have several examples where this has happened and it makes complete sense. The GP Federation offers even greater scale to General Practice and provides one voice for practices across a whole health economy. This makes the evolving New Models of Care and Integrated Care Systems easier to develop, as every model is predicated on General Practice operating ‘at scale’. Hubs of 30,000 to 50,000, under the umbrella of a GP Federation looks, therefore, like an excellent model.

That said, super practices are not for the fainthearted. In forming a super practice, you need to think in a radically different way. This will allow all practices to re-think their current delivery model as they come together, developing new ways of working to meet the challenges that are here and now, and enable sustainability in a very challenging environment.

How SCW can support you

In developing your local model, there is no one-size fits all approach in the support available. You will have access to a flexible solution, whereby we work with you to develop an individual approach that best suits the needs and circumstances of your practices and health economy.

This approach is designed to ensure you secure early agreement from all partners of the need for change and is followed by getting agreement on a vision for the future, which includes areas such as new ways of working, workload, remuneration, staffing levels, skill mix, decision-making and services.

This will not be achieved in one workshop, but rather will build across three half-day sessions to develop a set of principles, as heads of agreement, to proceed to merger, whether that’s formal merger of the contracts, or a new entity that operates three or four contracts.

At SCW, we have supported the development of several super practices, from initial exploratory meetings through to agreeing the principles to develop and build their super practice. This work can also involve legal and accountancy advice.

At the same time, and where required, we can ensure you are established in such a way that your constituent practices retain the benefits of working as individual practices.

Our support ensures a business ready outcome for our clients and ensures a solid platform they can then rapidly move forward from. Our approach explores:

  • Questions and scenarios
  • Vision
  • Terms and conditions
  • Structures
  • Staffing and workload
  • Reserved matters
  • Pay and conditions

There are plenty of options to explore for those considering super practices, as all the above categories have several subsets. We then convert the outputs of these discussions into an agreed set of principles, - a heads of terms - that your legal advisers can convert to a legally binding agreement.

This is not about merging practices to then have them all delivering services exactly as they are now. In forming a Super Practice, we work with and encourage our clients to start to think in a radically different way, to re-think their current delivery model as they come together, and develop new ways of working to meet their challenges and enable sustainability.

We have worked with practices which have taken an approach akin to the 'John Lewis model' of shared ownership and benefit to all working within the new super practice. This model of equity is tied to practice performance, income and overall profitability beyond baseline projections. This is designed to encourage people to maximise every opportunity, towards the overall prosperity of the business.

For more information on how we can help you, or to set up an initial free exploratory meeting, contact Alison Westmacott, Associate Director of Primary Care. E: alisonwestmacott@nhs.net T: 07919 303 792

Our team

Alison Westmacott is a high performing senior NHS manager with experience in development, implementation and delivery of large scale change programmes within a healthcare environment. Alison has 12 years’ experience within the NHS and nine years in commercial organisations supporting the NHS.

Alison started her NHS career in a clinical operational environment as a practice manager and is a skilled programme manager having working with Primary Care clinicians providing support through the implementation of the General Medical Services contract, leading the development of Practice-based Commissioning, delivering change to service delivery and providing a CCG with appropriate expert support to enable it to successfully apply to be a wave 1 statutory commissioning organisation.

Scott McKenzie has collaborated successfully in establishing new federations and companies and, with SCW, will draw on best practice utilising several unique approaches. His process-led approach, combined with strong implementation, secures excellent outcomes and income for you.

Key features of this approach are our joint team expertise in federation, company and super practice formation, the development of business cases, negotiating contracts and writing bids and tenders for member practices. We can also support the identification and implementation of new ways of working across practices, releasing efficiencies in a challenging market.

Associate Director of Primary Care