Minehead GP practice in Somerset becomes the first employee-owned trust in the country with a John Lewis style employee partnership
A GP practice in Minehead, Somerset; Minehead Medical Centre, announced in July 2022, that it has become the first individual GP in the country to operate as a John Lewis Style Employee-Owned Trust.
Employee ownership trusts (EOT) were introduced by the UK government in 2014 to encourage businesses to move to an employee ownership model a la John Lewis.
Every employee holds a non-tradable share in the company, held by trustees on behalf of and at no cost to the employee. Importantly, if GP partnerships are converted into GP-EOTs then they cannot be sold, they are a community asset, fixed by their GMS contract to the community they serve.
The advantage of this model is that it enables the Practice to offer GPs and other health staff a say in how their practice is run. Staff at the Practice can also develop a leadership role without needing to have money to invest in a partnership and profits generated are invested back into the Practice to help improve services, training and wages.
In common with many GPs, Minehead Medical Centre has found it challenging to recruit staff because of its geographic location. This is part of wider national picture in more rural areas where there are challenges in recruiting GPs, as many are nearing retirement age and there are not enough new doctors being trained who want to go into general practice.
Ed Ford, the GP who has led the development of the employee-owned trust at Minehead Medical Centre says “We have a fantastic management team and wider staff team, so partners at the practice felt we should give them more control of the business.
“We also wanted to ensure that the business structure shouldn’t rely on individuals holding shares that could be difficult to transfer if people wanted to leave – hence the idea of becoming an employee-owned trust (EOT).
“As an EOT, Minehead Medical Practice is committed to continuing to drive up standards at the practice and deliver the best standard of care to our patients”. Minehead Medical Practice has recently been successful in recruiting additional GPs and reception staff, but currently has a number of additional GP and other health vacancies at the practice.
Minehead Medical Practice has recently been successful in recruiting additional GPs and reception staff, but currently has a number of additional GP and other health vacancies at the practice.