4 things GPs should always consider when it comes to creating or updating their partnership agreement
When the partners in a GP, dental or medical practice set up together or when a new GP enters an established partnership, it is often the case that those involved will have a good working relationship and any disagreements are kept to a minimum.
However, over time disagreements probably will arise even amongst the closest of allies. If this is the case, it is often easier to resolve those issues if the partners have already agreed what would happen in such an event.
Unless a formal agreement is in place, the law will step in to provide a limited level of governance. The Partnership Act 1890 will apply a broad-brush approach which is often unsuitable for all but the most standard of partnerships.
The precise terms of any partnership agreement will depend on the nature of the GP practice and circumstances of the individual partners. In our experience there are 4 things the partners in a medical practice should always consider:
- Most GP practices will have partners of varying seniority and experience and each individual partner is likely to wish to take a different approach to the day to day running of the business. It is therefore important to set out what is expected of each partner and what happens financially if one partner is required to devote more time to the business than the others.
- It is important to set out any circumstances in which a GP partner can be forced by the other partners to leave the partnership. Although this is a situation that each of the partners will wish to avoid, it will simplify the process if the performance of one of the partners falls below an acceptable level.
- GPs are inevitably kept very busy running their own practice. It is therefore important to set out how the business will be managed around them and what responsibilities each of the partners will have in terms of dealing with the commercial aspects of the partnership.
- The partners will need to decide what will happen if a GP wishes to leave the partnership, perhaps to move elsewhere or maybe simply to retire. Without the protection of a partnership agreement the partnership may be forced to dissolve which, dependant on terms, could potentially lead to the loss of important lucrative contracts.
The points above are key to a successful partnership but they are not the only considerations to bear in mind when you are formulating your partnership agreement. We cannot stress how crucial it is for every general practice, medical and dental practice to put the right agreement in place from the start as it’s always far easier to manage and resolve a dispute when you have a partnership agreement in place.
If you are in or entering into a GP, dental or any other type of medical practice and would like to talk to someone who understands GP partnership agreements or if you have found yourself in a dispute with the other partners in your practice and would like to discuss the possible next steps to take, please email Andrew.Broadbent@keebles.com or call Andrew on 0114 252 1416.