Commissioners in east Sussex are to offer GPs a contact with the local acute and community services trust.

Hastings and Rother CCG has said alongside Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG it is working on a contract that would allow GPs to be employed by East Sussex Healthcare Trust.

In a bid to help increase capacity in primary care and improve GP recruitment, the CCG said it hopes to have a contract by September offering GPs the option of becoming salaried employees of the trust.

Under the proposed deal, individual GPs would be employed by the trust, which will make arrangements to “share” resources with practices.

CCGs will retain commissioning powers over GMS and PMS contracts. The new offer is intended for individuals and would allow them to have “portfolio” careers.

David Warden, chair of Hastings and Rother CCG, said: “What we will see is a portfolio contract. So doctors can work in a GMS practice but still be employed by the acute trust, all that would be required is that those GPs working from the trust be on the GP performers list in order to work in primary care.

“Essentially what we will be offering is that if a doctor wants to work in primary care but doesn’t want to commit to an individual practice they would have that employment option with the trust.”

“The practices would be subcontracting those doctors within their primary care setting but the practice would not hold any of the employment contract type work. So in the same sense of locums working within a practice, the GP would not be a salaried type doctor within the practice,” he added.

Dr Warden also said the approach would offer an alternative to the “inefficient” employment of locums in primary care.

“Employing locums in primary care is an inefficient way manage capacity, locums sometimes come in and do several sessions but they might not be booked up for them all and actually when you look back you say ‘we could’ve managed their workload with a bit less’.

“The option with the trust is that you might be able to say we do only need someone to cover five sessions in the week, the trust may have some doctors working under its contract that aren’t 100 per cent employed and would be able to take that [temporary cover] contract and manage that financial risk of having a doctor where one or two sessions aren’t allocated.”

HSJ understands the contract is aimed at newly qualified GPs but may also be attractive to those currently working for practices and doctors thinking about retirement.

The CCGs are working with local trusts and the county council to form an accountable care organisation which it hopes to be running in “test” form next year. The business case for this is due to be presented in November.

Dr Warden said: “[The new contract for GPs] will send out the message that different organisations are prepared to work more closely together rather thinking inwardly about their own organisation. That is the sort of attitude we need to produce for an accountable care organisation to be affective.”