Postlethwaite helps Minehead Medical Centre become first individual NHS GP practice to move to an EOT

Postlethwaite Solicitors, a specialist advisor of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), has advised on the transaction of the first individual NHS GP practice to move to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) after Minehead Medical Centre announced its transition to an EOT.

Postlethwaite advised on establishing the employee ownership trust, working alongside MLP Law, which acted for the transferee company and the ongoing GP shareholders. Porter Dodson Solicitors acted for the transferring GPs.

As an employee-owned entity, employees now have a say in how the practice is run without needing to invest their own money, and profits made are invested back into the practice to help improve services, training and wages.

Robert Postlethwaite, Founder and Managing Director of Postlethwaite Solicitors, said: “Our firm has approaching 20 years’ experience in helping organisations from many sectors become employee-owned through an employee ownership trust, and it’s been extremely exciting to help Minehead Medical Centre innovate in this way.

“A practice owned by an EOT can enjoy many potential benefits, including greater employee engagement through a say in how things can be done better, improved performance as well as being an attractive place to work for both existing and new employees.

“The practice, alongside many others in the UK, faces the challenge of recruiting GPs and it’s hoped this transition, which moves away from the traditional partnership model, relying on new partners to make a significant personal financial commitment to buy shares, will help in their recruitment efforts.”

Employee ownership ‘first of its kind’

While there is a group of GP practices in the North-West of England that are also owned by an employee trust, Minehead Medical Centre is the first individual practice to commit to an EOT.

Every employee holds a non-tradable share in the company, held by trustees on behalf of and at no cost to the employee.

Ed Ford, the GP who has led the development of the employee ownership trust at Minehead Medical Centre, added: “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 ownership trust.

“EOTs offers GP practices an alternative, more flexible operational model; offering staff a greater say in how GP practices are run and opportunities for the team to develop their careers by having a greater leadership role, without needing to have the funds to invest as a partner.

“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.”

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