General Practitioners & Primary Care Networks

GP employment and HR

Employment law is a complex and rapidly changing area and it can be challenging for a busy GP practice to stay up to date with current legislation and apply it in tandem with the raft of NHS regulations.

Even a small mistake made when dealing with a disgruntled employee or partner (the discrimination rules apply to partners too) can result in a costly claim being made against a practice.

Similarly, an employee must stick to specific timescales and process if they wish to bring a successful claim against an employer.

Employment claims can be stressful and time consuming so it can sometimes be tempting to ‘pay your way out’, but this will often simply encourage further claims. Our team of experienced employment solicitors will advise on merits and take the problem away from you.

Prevention is always better than cure and we can help you with this by providing robust contracts, policies and procedures for practices to rely on. Remember that these must be primary care specific, and are particularly unusual when they relate to clinicians or primary care networks.

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We can help with all your employment and HR issues, including:

  • PCN related employment contracts and workforce sharing agreements
  • contracts of employment including BMA model term compliant contracts
  • staff handbooks, policies and procedures
  • reorganisation, redundancies and TUPE
  • dispute resolution & mediation
  • claims in the Employment Tribunal
  • settlement agreements
  • discrimination claims


  • In a PCN, who picks up liability for redundancy?
  • The answer to this is always the employer of the ARRS resource in the first instance. The employer may be able to recover the costs from the member practices, but only if there is an agreement in place stipulating that they can do so. This would either be the PCN agreement, a workforce sharing agreement or a sub-contract, depending on the structure of the PCN.

  • Who will provide cover for a PCN employee's long-term leave ?
  • Firstly, consider whether cover is actually required. This is more likely in the case of a clinical resource, must some ARRS resources do not always need backfilling.

    If cover is required, then who will provide and pay for the cover is a contractual question. Broadly, unless you’ve agreed amongst yourselves or with your supplier (in the event you’ve sub-contracted) that there will be cover, then the default position is there will be no cover.

    If the employer is a lead practice, the answer should lie in the PCN agreement or more likely, a workforce sharing agreement. If the employer is a GP Federation, Trust or similar, the answer should lie in the PCN sub-contract with that party.

    Although ARRS absence cover is not directly reimbursed, it is possible to apply for further ARRS funding within the reimbursement sum.

  • How to reduce risk of fixed term contracts?
  • The use of fixed term contracts can be beneficial to both the employee and the employer and are often used in primary care, but care should be taken when preparing one. A fixed term employee enjoys the same general rights as a permanent employee, including a right not to be treated less favourably than comparable permanent employees when it comes to:

    1. terms & conditions of employment
    2. training, promotions & transfers
    3. being informed of any permanent vacancies that arise

    Even though the contract is for a fixed term, we recommend that it includes a notice clause to be relied on in the event that you wish to terminate the contract early. This will cover you in the event the fixed term contract is left to run over.

    For further information, see our blog


Key Contacts

Beth Lyon

Beth Lyon


Daphne Robertson

Daphne Robertson

Senior Partner

Nils Christiansen

Nils Christiansen

Managing Partner